The author is a QUB Pol Sci Honours graduate and has written extensively on imperialism, national liberation struggles and class issues.
Internet users with an interest in Irish politics and history may have come across the bombastic, self-indulgent yarns by a blogger styling themselves ‘Irish Observer’ invariably posing as a supposedly ‘reformed’ former member of the Provisional IRA. In fact, by ‘Irish Observer’s own admission, he is none other than a convicted paedophile, Vincent McKenna, who was jailed by Cavan Circuit Court, Ireland for 6 years on 31 counts of sexually abusing his daughter, Sorcha, over a 12 year period, in 2000! McKenna’s years of sexually abusing his daughter were described by an Irish judge, Justice Geoghegan, as 'particularly depraved.’ For years previously, McKenna had masqueraded as a ‘reformed terrorist and paramilitary victims campaigner, when in reality the real victim, of course, was his daughter who suffered horrific protracted sexual abuse at his hands. On release from prison, McKenna reinvented himself as a writer and blogger using the pseudonym ‘Irish Observer’ and continued the fiction of being a self-proclaimed, so-called ‘reformed terrorist.’
McKenna first surfaced in the Six Counties at Queens University Belfast in the mid-1990′s, where he flirted with campus politics and tried unsuccessfully to enter the fairly security-conscious sphere of Irish Republican support groups on campus. His wild, Walter Mitty-type claims of previous involvement with the Provisional IRA were quickly exposed as fantasy, at best, and most probably a sinister attempt to infiltrate anti-imperialist groups as an agent provocateur. Always a keen manipulator, as all paedophiles and self-promoters are, McKenna produced a badly written ‘book’ making unlikely claims regarding his ‘secret’ past as a former-Irish Republican activist. True to form, he claimed to be, not just a rank and file member, but a senior secret ‘operator’ within the Provisional IRA’s intelligence department. So ‘very secret’ in fact, that no-one had actually heard of him and no-one has EVER confirmed those fantastic claims of McKenna’s alleged involvement with the Provisional IRA!
McKenna’s book was a classic example of a ‘vanity publishing’ potboiler and infinitely forgettable. McKenna would have been seen regularly in Queens University central quad during Spring term engaging his younger peers with tales of insincere remorse over his self-proclaimed ‘IRA past’ while we now know and it is backed up by court transcripts, that his true ‘past’ was abusing a little girl, his own daughter!
Having been exposed as a fraud within the Queens University Republican community and in light of the nascent ceasefires in Ireland, McKenna re-invented himself as a ‘peace campaigner’ and ‘born-again Christian just when a veritable Irish ‘peace industry’ was beginning to attract serious statutory and international funding. It has to be said that as a manipulator, McKenna was highly successful, to the extent that he had persuaded the Dean of the Politics department at Queens University, Professor Bob Eccleshall, to endorse and allegedly find funding for his faux-autobiographical book. In fact, during McKenna’s ill-judged foray into electoral politics in Belfast, when he unsuccessfully stood as a ‘community’ anti-Republican candidate’ in the upper Ormeau Road area, he received less than 10 votes! McKenna had even persuaded Professor Eccleshall, the ideological liberal, to act as his Election Agent and this will be confirmed by a casual inspection of local government election records. (It must be stressed that Professor Eccleshall acted in good faith regarding his then student and quickly disassociated himself from McKenna, possibly when it became apparent that he was nothing but a fraud and shameless self-publicist.)
Having been embarrassingly trounced in his attempt to reinvent himself as a politician, McKenna then attached himself to the anti-punishment shooting lobby which at that time was being nurtured by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) as an anti-Republican bulwark against the post-ceasefire rise in electoral support for Provisional Sinn Fein. A pressure group called ‘Families Against Intimidation and Terror‘ (FAIT) was formed with generous cash grants from the NIO. FAIT was originally fronted-up by the highly dubious, Nancy Gracey, the lumpen proletarian matriarch of a petty-crime family from county Down (whose members had fallen foul of the Provisionals punishment squads due to their involvement in anti-community crime) and also prominent north Belfast ‘slum landlord’ Sam Cushnahan, brother of Alliance Party elected representative, John Cushnahan.
Always the self-publicist, McKenna would have been seen in the media regularly shedding the proverbial crocodile tears for victims of Loyalist, but mostly Republican punishment shootings and invariably acting as a professional anti-Sinn Fein mouthpiece. It is a matter of record that while he very publicly condemned the PIRA and INLA, at the behest of his British paymasters, McKenna the self-proclaimed ‘human-rights campaigner’ had himself been subjecting his daughter to the most terrible type of human rights abuse imaginable.
McKenna eventually was expelled from FAIT after it was discovered that someone had been accessing child porn on the office computer. Why he was never subject to prosecution is a major question that McKenna and indeed the then RUC have never answered? It is thought that his crimes were covered-up, as hawkish securicrat elements within the NIO were then happy to use McKenna as an anti-PIRA, faux-victims campaigner. It has also been alleged in the media that McKenna was in the pay of one of the British intelligence agencies, as he would have had access to low-level intelligence on ‘paramilitary’ personnel gleaned from Loyalist and Republican punishment attack victims. In the late 1990′s McKenna would have been a familiar figure in the local media staging anti-Republican press conferences, ostensibly condemning ‘punishment beatings’ though in reality, self-promotion was his real motive. The now-discredited and defunct FAIT’s former director and McKenna’s former colleague, Sam Cushnahan, stated:
“McKenna had only become active in its work, against paramilitary punishment beatings, in preparation for the day he knew would arrive when he would come before a court charged with sex abuse.”
Shameless Self-Publicist McKenna
Following his expulsion from FAIT, after the discovery of child porn on the office computer, McKenna formed his own largely fictional ‘paramilitary victims’ support group, with the grandiose title of the “Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau” predictably enough, with himself as director and chief spokesperson. True to form, McKenna raised his public profile, as a self-proclaimed victim and faux-human rights campaigner, by reportedly staging Republican attacks on his own home! It has been alleged that a remorseful Loyalist paramilitary who approached McKenna for help in escaping the clutches of his organisation, handed the former-FAIT figure pipe bombs he had been keeping on the understanding that the faux-human rights campaigner would turn them over to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) for disposal. Meanwhile, McKenna arranged for the former Loyalist paramilitary, through his RUC contacts, to receive help moving to England. It is further alleged that far from handing the pipe bombs over to the police, McKenna used them to create a staged attack on his Haypark Avenue, Ormeau Road, home in South Belfast which he predictably publicly blamed on the Provisional IRA. This staged attack boosted his public profile and allowed him to apply for official protection, such as the installation of bullet-proof windows and doors at his home, all at the tax payers’ expense. A short time later McKenna came off second best in a scuffle with a Provisional Sinn Fein election worker he had verbally abused while crossing the Ormeau bridge. In true Walter Mitty and by now routine form, the convicted paedophile called a very fishy press conference alleging that he had been the victim of a PIRA punishment attack! Beatrix Campbell, writing in The Independent, on 26th September 1999, after one of McKenna’s self-publicity stunts, where he staged an ‘IRA attack’ on his home prophetically stated:
“According to the RUC it was an “elaborate hoax”. There may be those who wonder whether this is also a description of the man himself.”
McKenna Convicted Of 31 Counts of Child Abuse!
The ‘headlines’ that Vincent McKenna was facing child abuse charges in Monaghan first appeared in overnight graffiti on the perimeter wall of H&J Martin’s Ltd’s premises on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, in 1999. Despite an early morning attempt by McKenna, accompanied by a heavily armed RUC escort, to paint over the crudely written graffiti, the shameless self-publicist was about to make the media headlines he had always craved, but this time, it was not to be on his own terms..
As far back as July 1998, a court in county Monaghan had banned McKenna from contacting his children following complaints by their mother, yet in 1999, he applied to the same court to gain access to them. McKenna was instantly arrested by Gardai (southern Irish police) and the sordid reasons behind his prohibition from contacting his children slowly trickled north to members of the Fourth Estate in Belfast.
Even when it became widely known in the media that McKenna was facing serious child abuse charges south of the ‘border’, he still blatantly attempted to weather the storm and bluff his way out. Incredibly, he lied that he had even been charged or ever questioned by the Gardai in relation to the counts of child abuse he was subsequently convicted of and predictably enough, blamed the Provisional IRA:
“It is a foul lie and slander that I have been interviewed by the gardai regarding sexual abuse allegations. It is Provo propaganda”, he said. “I will not be charged with anything by the Monaghan gardai.” (Vincent McKenna, 1999)
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It is a matter of public record that Vincent McKenna, aka Irish Observer, then aged 39, was convicted at Cavan Circuit Court in November 2000, of 31 counts of sexually abusing his daughter. The abuse by McKenna began when his victim, his own daughter, was only four and the details of the abuse were some of the most unspeakable acts to ever come before an Irish court. McKenna’s daughter, Sorcha, took the unusual step in such cases of waiving her right to anonymity to personally expose the faux-human rights campaigner as the convicted paedophile he now is. Originally McKenna was jailed for only 3 years but this was viewed as unduly lenient by the Irish DPP, given the scale of the sexual abuse he subjected his daughter to and it was later increased to 6 years imprisonment on appeal. (This can be verified by official court documents and contemporary media reports.) Mckenna’s daughter shortly after his conviction stated:
“I can never put it behind me but it’s good that people now realise what he has done.” (Sorcha Mckenna, 2000)
The Mask Slips!
The general public in the north of Ireland was beginning ‘to catch on’ to McKenna’s shameless, self-promotional stunts and a local contemporary joke was that you merely had to sneeze in the faux-human rights campaigner’s presence for him to call another of his press conferences accusing Republicans of attacking him! By this stage in the late 1990′s, the local media itself in Belfast were beginning to catch on to McKenna’s numerous self-promotional stunts, reportedly after some of his former secret-police associates leaked details of his paedophile deviant behaviour. It did not stop McKenna from being feted by the most reactionary elements within Ulster Unionism and at one time he appeared on stage in the Ulster Hall with the late, former ‘shoot to kill’ Chief Constable, John Hermon, during a “Save The RUC” rally. However, McKenna’s double life as a faux-victims campaigner, serial self-publicist and anti-Republican, while in reality, he was a vicious, long-term child sex abuser, was about to be exposed!
The Irish police stated of convicted paedophile, Vincent McKenna (Irish Observer) that he had callously forced his daughter, Sorcha, to relive the horrors of 12 years of sexual abuse in the witness box, by choosing to plead not guilty. The convicted paedophile and serial self-publicist, McKenna, made national media headlines but this time it was unlikely that he welcomed them, as the BBC stated:
“Vincent McKenna, 37, from Haypark Avenue in Belfast was found guilty earlier this month of 31 charges of sexual abuse against his daughter, Sorcha.” (BBC)
To add insult to injury McKenna consistently refused treatment from the Probation Service in Wheatfield Prison, Ireland, to curb his chances of re-offending on release.
Irish Observer/Vincent McKenna
While in Wheatfield prison, McKenna the convicted paedophile continued writing and bizarrely won a prize for poetry during a literary competition for prisoners. While still a prisoner, McKenna had boasted to fellow inmates of his new future as a writer and he had unsuccessfully written to various media agencies seeking employment on release.
Following his release, McKenna began writing on free blogging websites, often using the nom-de-plume ‘Irish Observer’, and gradually began peddling his old book filled with the same old discredited claims of involvement in the upper echelons of the Provisional IRA’s intelligence department. At first, McKenna targeted North American websites, posing as a ‘reformed terrorist’ in the full knowledge that it was unlikely that his paedophile antecedents would be exposed. More discerning Irish readers with local knowledge would have twigged straight away that Irish Observer aka Vincent McKenna’s bizarre tale of being a ‘converted-terrorist’ had absolutely no basis in fact and was at best the work of a Walter Mitty type crank. The closest McKenna ever came to a ‘politically motivated’ action was ironically a ‘conviction’ for arson involving a Protestant owned building. It is a matter of record that not one person has ever confirmed McKenna’s self-proclaimed role as a member of the Provisional IRA and despite producing highly dubious computer-generated ‘letters’ from highly unlikely sources such as Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, he is universally regarded as a fraud and a crank.
What Next For Vincent McKenna/Irish Observer?
The Vincent McKenna/Irish Observer linkage was first discovered by a Belfast Republican Socialist who had been a mature student at around the time McKenna had been attempting to infiltrate Queens University Republican circles and had instantly recognised the old fraudulent claims contained in the convicted paedophiles discredited pot-boiler he was now publishing on various North American blogging websites and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Needless to say, at first ‘Irish Observer’ denied being Vincent McKenna the convicted paedophile and disgraced Walter Mitty, just as in 1999 he had denied facing charges of child abuse. However, in more recent times Vincent McKenna/Irish Observer has openly admitted that he is indeed the convicted Irish paedophile and has been openly writing as ‘Vincent McKenna’ in the first person on his low brow Irish Observer and other blogs decanting arrant nonsense.
Vincent McKenna, now in his mid-50′s, the convicted child sex abuser, serial self-publicist, faux-human rights campaigner and fantasist, can be tracked on social media mainly by his not-so-secret-pseudonym ‘Irish Observer’ (he also uses typically grandiose blogging titles like ‘Monaghan News’ and ‘National Union of Bloggers’). It is clear that on various forums attached to blogging sites he has continued with his deviant and defamatory behaviour patterns.
Ever the misogynist, he has created numerous blogs spewing bile at a respected female journalist and author, Susan McKay, who recently wrote about his antecedents in the print media. McKenna can still be found online serializing his Walter Mitty tales of imagined Irish Republican military involvement (which have all the lack of credibility of the very worst nadir of Troubles Fiction). Vincent McKenna, the convicted paedophile and former pro-Imperialist agent is now incredibly posing as a self-styled "Expert" on sex crimes! McKenna is currently touting supposed interviews with sex-offenders on the Internet, that in reality can only have been conducted by the so-called ‘Irish Observer’ looking into a mirror!
Like all paedophiles, Vincent McKenna is highly manipulative, and it is well documented that a sexual deviant’s online persona will invariably appear very plausible. A paedophile will invariably indulge in long-term, complex planning to gain access to their next child victim over a protracted period of time. It is also well documented that paedophiles, like McKenna aka ‘Irish Observer’, will befriend fellow bloggers with the express, though highly covert, long-term goal of gaining access to their children. It goes without saying that McKenna, who very publicly maintained the fiction for many years of being a former-Provisional IRA activist, staged bomb attacks on his home, manipulated the media and secretly sexually abused his own daughter, will have no problem maintaining a highly plausible ‘on-line persona’ on certain websites, with the cloak of anonymity the Internet instantly gives him. However, it is almost certain that he will offend again given his recidivist history.
One Of Ireland’s 12 Most Dangerous Sexual Predators!
McKenna aka Irish Observer is now on the sex offenders register in the south of Ireland but due to the de jure partition of Ireland and Mckenna living so close to the ‘border’, he would not be monitored officially if travelling in the north of Ireland. The Sunday People newspaper named McKenna aka ‘Irish Observer’ as one of ‘Ireland’s Dirty Dozen’, placing him among the twelve most dangerous Irish sexual predators. Anyone who has accessed court records of the child abuse charges McKenna was convicted of will have no doubt that, on this occasion, the Sunday People newspaper got it right, as the catalogue of depraved acts he committed against a defenceless child is of the most despicable acts imaginable.
The next time you read ‘Irish Observer’s discredited yarns of supposed involvement in “terrorism” and waxing lyrical on ‘human rights’ perhaps readers will spare a thought for his daughter, Sorcha, his victim and ask what consideration did he give to her human right’ to grow up as a child in safety? Ironically, for a ‘writer’ who has attempted to condemn others for sexual abuse, McKenna, is one of Ireland’s most dangerous paedophiles! He may well resort to his previous modus operandi of bluff, bluster and denial, he may even vainly threaten litigation yet again. Thankfully, this time the Irish public will not be so easily deceived by this dubious character’s self-promotional stunts and if this article saves even one child from becoming McKenna’s next victim, then it will be entirely worthwhile.
Brave Daughter Sorcha Waived Her Right to Anonymity to Help Expose McKenna as the Beast He Is
- BBC News | NORTHERN IRELAND | Abused daughter relives her nightmare
The daughter of a faux human rights campaigner, Vincent McKenna, who sexually abused her has been reliving her ordeal.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.