Police questioned Tyrone manager over assault claims 10 years ago

Police questioned Tyrone manager over assault claims

Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte has been questioned by police over physical assault claims by residents of a former Catholic boys’ home where he was once employed, according to the Sunday World.

The three-time All-Ireland winning Bainisteoir was interviewed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Public Protection Unit over the matter, which dates back to the 1970s.

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According to a report in the Sunday World, several members of the McConville family – whose mother Jean was executed by the IRA nearly 40 years ago, are among those who accused Harte of physically assaulting residents at Runbane House in Kircrubbin, Co. Down, a home for Catholic boys in care where Harte once worked as a teacher.

Willie McConville, the youngest of the McConville family, is believed to have made a statement to police accusing Harte of assault.

Harte has vehemently denied any accusations of wrongdoing and told the paper: “I am not guilty of any of these accusations and I will fight this the whole way.”

The allegations come over 30 years after the offences were alleged to take place and there has been no suggestion from any of the accusers than there was any other form of abuse than physical assault.

Harte was questioned by PSNI detectives in December of last year regarding the allegations and understood to have cooperated fully with the investigation.

Runbane House has a notorious reputation for clerical sex abuse; Fr. Brendan Smyth was sentenced to ten years for his crimes in the 1990s, while charges against Brother Florence (real name Joseph Scally) were eventually dropped.

Harte has previously claimed that he was oblivious to abuse that went on in Runbane House, telling the Sunday World last year: At Runbane, I came in and went home every day, so I wasn’t part of the ‘Home’ scene so to speak.

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“I was oblivious at the time to anything that was going on. I never dreamt that anything like that was going on.”