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Rally held for alleged victims as weekly’s child sex abuse probe hits six-month mark

Protesters have held a rally in support of alleged child sex abuse victims whose plight has been revealed by a weekly newspaper.

The Impartial Reporter has marked six months since it launched its investigation into historic abuse in County Fermanagh, with more than 50 people since coming forward since to say they were victims.

Allegations have been made against more than 60 men, both living and dead, although no arrests have yet been made despite the campaign prompting a major review by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The Enniskillen-based Reporter splashed on the latest update with the investigation’s progression on Thursday, and 48 hours later a rally in support of the victims was held in the town.

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Addressing those gathered, rally organiser Donal O’Cofaigh said: “We will not stop until these allegations pass the threshold of the courthouse steps.

“We will mobilise, we will continue our campaign and we will have to ask questions.

“This was systematic institutional failure, and we will not be silenced and you can be assured that we will not be.

“The police are investigating, we have to see where that leads but we cannot accept a continuation of the situation where there’s more than 60 alleged child abusers who are unaccountable to the law.”

The Reporter’s investigation has been led by deputy editor Rodney Edwards.

Rodney previously told HTFP: “We hope that at some point in the future these men and women who destroyed the lives of very many people in Fermanagh are held accountable for their despicable actions.

“We do not intend to stop this investigation anytime soon and will continue to give victims a platform and ask questions of the authorities without fear or favour.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman, form PSNI, said: “Investigations into historical child sexual abuse in County Fermanagh are actively ongoing – this includes both reviewing cases previously reported to police and investigating cases where victims are coming forward for the first time.

“Working with and supporting victims to provide their evidence is central to this work and specialist child abuse detectives are diligently working with victims and gathering and reviewing evidence.”