Earlier today, videos were posted to Twitter in which a teenage man accuses Social Democrats councillor for Galway City East, Owen Hanley, of sexually grooming him on social media when he was underage.
Hanley has been accused by this teenager of sexual abuse, catfishing and grooming. Allegedly, Hanley posed as a teenager and reached out anonymously to the victim on Twitter. Allegedly, Hanley successfully encouraged the victim to send explicit images around February of 2022. When confronted by the individual with this information, according to the video accusation, Hanley denied the allegations. However, following when this alleged interaction would have happened, all traces of Hanley’s anonymous social media presence were deleted. His profile pictures were removed from his personal Twitter and the account made private.
Long-standing anonymous reports
In August of 2022, anonymous allegations were levied against an unnamed politician, accused of grooming an underage boy. In August, a report from extra.ie on the allegations issued the following information about the case:
“It is understood the boy at the centre of the complaint first informed the party’s general secretary about the alleged contact and the party leadership was informed a few days later.
Three days after the teenager notified the party about his concerns, the accused politician attended a party meeting at which new child protection guidelines and policy were voted and signed-off on by party members.
Meanwhile, party officials sought legal advice as to how the teenager’s complaint should be handled.
Two days after the party received legal advice from a senior counsel the politician was invited to a meeting with the party leadership at which he was told the party whip was being withdrawn.
It is understood the State family and child agency Tusla and gardaí have been informed about the allegations.”
Hanley, as the first openly gay councillor in Galway was heralded by the liberal media as a role model for LGBT youth in Ireland.
Hanley is a member of the Social Democrats and allegedly knew the victim from prior engagements. The victim claims that he was subsequently contacted by Hanley via an anonymous Twitter account under the name “Irish Jock.”
Hanley was contacted in order to ask for comment on these recently revealed accusations, however, no response was received.
Should the allegations issued against Owen Hanley prove to be subject of Garda investigation and demonstrated to be factual without any shade of doubt, this is a serious political scandal for the Social Democrats.