Colm O'Gorman

Colm O'Gorman
In office
May  July 2007
Personal details
Born (1966-07-15) 15 July 1966
County Wexford, Ireland
Nationality Irish

Colm O'Gorman (born 15 July 1966) is the Executive Director of Amnesty International in Ireland.[1][2] He is founder and former director of One in Four.

He is a survivor of clerical sexual abuse, and first came to public attention by speaking out against the perpetrators. O'Gorman subsequently founded One in Four, an Irish charity which supports men and women who have been sexually abused and/or suffered sexual violence.[3]

He was a Senator in 2007, representing the Progressive Democrats.

Early and private life

Colm O'Gorman was born in County Wexford. His father was Seán O'Gorman, of Adamstown, County Wexford – a farmer, builder and local Fianna Fáil politician.[4] Seán O'Gorman was a member of Wexford County Council, and later moved with his family to live in Wexford town. He twice stood unsuccessfully as a Fianna Fáil candidate in general elections: in 1969 and 1973.[5]

In 2002, Colm O'Gorman settled near Gorey, County Wexford.[6] He is raising two children with his husband Paul Anders, of whom they have joint legal guardianship.[7] When this was revealed it generated debate on fosterships in the Irish media.[8]

Child sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Church

As an adolescent in County Wexford – between the age of 15 and 18 – O'Gorman was sexually abused by Fr Seán Fortune. The abuse occurred between 1981 and 1983.[9] He became the first of Fortune's many victims to come forward and report the assaults to the Irish police. In 1998, he sued the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns and the Dublin Papal Nuncio, who later claimed diplomatic immunity. His case against the Catholic Diocese of Ferns was settled in 2003 with an admission of negligence and the payment of damages – in April 2003, O'Gorman was awarded €300,000 damages.[10] O'Gorman documented his lawsuit in the BBC documentary Suing the Pope.[11]

He successfully campaigned to set up the Ferns Inquiry,[12] the first Irish state inquiry into clerical sexual abuse. He founded the charity One in Four in London in 1999 and established its sister organisation in Ireland in 2002. He is a well-known figure in Irish media as an advocate of child sexual abuse victims and a commentator and campaigner on sexual violence. He was named one of the ESB/Rehab People of the Year and received a TV3/Daily Star "Best of Irish" award in 2002, one of the Sunday Independent/Irish Nationwide People of the Year in 2003 and in the same year he was also awarded the James Larkin Justice Award by the Labour Party for his contribution to social justice in Ireland.

In 2006 O'Gorman filmed Sex Crimes and the Vatican for the BBC Panorama documentary series, which claimed that the Vatican has used Crimen sollicitationis secret document to silence allegations of sexual abuse by priests and also claimed Crimen sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became pope Benedict XVI.[13]

Political career

In April 2006, he announced that he would stand for the Progressive Democrats, a pro-free market liberal political party, in the 2007 general election in the Wexford constituency. On 3 May 2007, he was appointed to the Senate by the Taoiseach to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Kate Walsh.

He was not elected in the 2007 general election in Wexford polling 3% of the vote, losing his deposit.[14] He was not re-appointed to the 23rd Seanad in July 2007.


  1. "Amnesty International Ireland Website". Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  2. Cunningham, Grainne (15 March 2008). "Amnesty in fresh demand for 'torture' flight inspections". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  3. "Our vision & work - About us". One in Four. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  4. "New Ross – General Election". The Munster Express. 4 August 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  5. "Seán O'Gorman's electoral history". Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  6. "O'Gorman to stand for PDs". Enniscorthy Guardian. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  7. "Election candidate hits out at line of questioning on Late Late Show O'Gorman 'duped' into discussing private life". New Ross Standard. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  8. Finnegan, Brian (14 April 2007). "OUT OF TOUCH". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  9. "1 in 4 founder settles High Court action". Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) News. 9 April 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  10. "PERSON OF THE MONTH Colm O'Gorman, who fought a long battle against clerical sex abuse". Sunday Independent. 8 June 2003. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  11. "Suing The Pope: Your comments (viewers)". BBC News. 22 March 2002. Retrieved 13 August 2006.
  13. "Sex crimes and the Vatican". BBC News. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  14. "Colm O'Gorman's electoral history". Retrieved 12 May 2008.
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