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Above Water by Trish Kearney

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Memoir

By Grace O'Reilly

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Published earlier this year by Hachette Books Ireland, this is Trish Kearney’s first book.  Above Water, is the heart-breaking true story of Trish’s teenage years.  It is a story of sexual abuse by a respected member of society in the swimming world.  It is the harrowing tale of how swimming coach, George Gibney, a man trusted with children stole Trish’s childhood.  It is the story of how it has and always will be a brutal part of Trish’s life.

Gibney also sexually abused children both boys and girls before, and after Trish and so did two other respected and trusted swim coaches.  It tells the brave story of how after years of being silence, when she received information from her old childhood friend Gary O’Toole, she decided to tell her story and stand up to the monster that us George Gibney.  He was the cause of Gary and Trish’s friendship ending although Gary was unaware of this at the time, being a teenager himself.

As you read the book you can see how her home life as a child and her life outside of the home were complete opposites, in the sense that there was love and comfort in her home referred to as ‘108’ and the world outside of her front door.  Even at times in the home Kearney felt anxious when the house phone kept ringing once every so often, or when she was in bed and could feel his presence outside of her window, giving her eerie chills.

The book also showcases how the Irish Amateur Swimming Association (which closed down in January 1999 following a series of sexual abuse issues) and the Irish legal system let Trish and many other victims down by failing to bring George Gibney to trial.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Order your copy online here.

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