I don’t think a book has ever compelled me to read it before: there are plenty that I have devoured for pleasure, to get to the end of the story or for a million other reasons, but from five pages into Deep Deception (yes, it’s an O’Brien Press book, before you ask) I felt it would be a betrayal of the young swimmers and their families, who suffered unspeakably at the hands of four senior swimming coaches over 20 years, not to read every single word. After the number of people and institutions that have let them down, I felt that the very least I could do is read the whole terrible story.
At the launch of the book, Justine McCarthy gave a brilliant speech in which she asked if the publication of the Ryan Report (into clerical sex abuse in Ireland) had raised the “depravity bar” so high that a story needed to be ever more horrendous to make the papers: she probably has a point, but what could be worse than the pain of parents who brought their children to the lions’ dens and waited unknowing in cars outside while their children were abused?
The survivors and their families are an incredible group of people, and it was humbling to be in a room with them: their mutual support network is obviously extremely strong. This is a very important story, and hopefully this book can help in some way to ensure that these events will not be repeated: After so many scandals in Ireland, that may be a vain hope, but it has to be clung to.