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OPINION: Lay voices who make a living defending the church should see sense on embassy issue, writes PATSY McGARRY
By Patsy McGarry
24 Feb 2012
PROTAGONISTS IN the row over the closure of Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See have included some Fine Gael backbenchers not heard from before. Certainly they were silent following the Cloyne report last July, when no one produced a rosary beads at a parliamentary party meeting either.
Recently they’ve had to deal with voters angered at Fine Gael Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan’s stand on septic tanks and household charges. It was a help to have a Labour Minister’s decision to seize on.
The row would not be complete without Fianna Fáil input. On Valentine’s Day Senator Terry Leyden was accused by Fine Gael’s Paul Coghlan of jumping up and down like a jackass on the issue. Leyden is no jackass but would recognise a chance to embarrass political opponents before drawing his first breath of a day, even on Valentine’s Day.
Then there are the usual suspects, lay voices who make a living from defending the institutional church when it is safe to do so, when outrage is settling after the Cloyne report.
It was the same after the Ferns, Ryan and Murphy reports. Their immediate reaction is practised horror. Then, with time, they’re back to their slithering ways, diluting truth, minimising the wreckage, playing it all down.
A particular focus for this Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil/usual suspects “alliance” is Eamon Gilmore, who announced the closure of the embassy in November. He has even been described as “an arrogant atheist”.
Gilmore has said he is an agnostic. He attended Garbally College, Ballinasloe, junior seminary of the Catholic Diocese of Clonfert. In his 2010 book Leading Lights he described a teacher there, Fr Joe Cassidy, later archbishop of Tuam, as one of 12 people who inspired him most in life. This hardly fits the image of “an arrogant atheist”.
But some will note that one of the great 20th century atheists and tyrants Joseph Stalin also attended a seminary. (Irish seminaries produced their share of tyrants, albeit arrogant believers to a man.) Yet even his detractors would acknowledge that Gilmore is no Joe Stalin.
None of this nonsense has anything to do with religion. The central issue over Ireland and the Vatican has been Rome’s lack of co-operation with two inquiries set up by this State to investigate criminality – the systematic enabling and cover-up by Catholic Church authorities of the rape of Irish children over decades.
Their determination to hide the truth, through lies and mental reservation, rested on what was understood to be required in Rome. Then in May 2001 the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope) contacted every Catholic bishop in the world, including then archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell and then bishop of Cloyne John Magee.
He directed them to send all clerical child sex abuse allegations “with a semblance of truth” to him. On foot of this and prior Vatican decisions the Murphy commission, which investigated abuse in Dublin, wrote to the congregation in September 2006 seeking co-operation. It got none.
Instead the Vatican complained to Dublin that the commission had not used proper channels, ie it had not gone through the Department of Foreign Affairs. As should have been known in Rome the Murphy commission could not use the Irish State’s “proper channels” as it was also investigating this State’s handling of allegations.
So, in February 2007 the commission wrote to the papal nuncio in Dublin asking for relevant documents. There was no reply. In early 2009 it again wrote to the nuncio, enclosing a draft of its report for comment. There was no reply.
During its later investigations into Cloyne diocese it also wrote to the nuncio. This time he responded to say he was “unable to assist”. That was how the Holy See treated two inquiries set up by our government to investigate the gravest of abuses of thousands of Irish children by priests. It ignored them. This had nothing to do with Catholicism but centrally involved inter-state relations. Because of it, and whatever may happen in the future, the decision to close the Irish embassy to the Holy See was appropriate and proportionate, regardless of the costs argument.
Nor did it amount to breaking off diplomatic relations, as could be inferred from surprising interventions by former Irish diplomats Seán Donlon and Michael Lillis.
It should be noted too that the most Catholic country, Malta, is represented in the Holy See from its capital Valletta, and others from Bern in Switzerland.
It is time common sense entered this row.
22 Feb 2012
It is “a scandal” that reviews of the handling of child abuse allegations in all 26 dioceses are not complete, six years after the National Board for Safeguarding Children was set up, Baroness Nuala O’Loan has said.
The former Northern Ireland police ombudsman yesterday praised the integrity of Ian Elliott of the national board but said the board was under-resourced.
“History tells us that there may today still be men in active ministry, against whom allegations were made, which were never investigated,” she said.
The board released six diocesan audits last year and plans more in May or June. Ferns, Dublin and Cloyne were subjects of earlier investigations. Ms O’Loan spoke at the launch of the book Can I Stay in the Catholic Church? by Fr Brian Lennon which looks at the response to child abuse and its cover up.
By Sarah Stack
Tuesday January 10 2012
ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin has led tributes to a groundbreaking journalist who lifted the lid on clerical and institutional abuse in Ireland.
Mary Raftery’s fearless investigations to uncover generations of abuse led to the setting up of several State inquiries which shocked the nation.
She died this morning at the age of 54 following an illness, and is survived by her husband, David Waddell, and their son, Ben.
Archbishop Martin said work by the late broadcaster and journalist contributed to the Church being a better place for children.
“Bringing the truth out is always a positive thing even though it may be a painful truth,” he told RTE.
“I believe that through her exposition of sins of the past and of the moment that the church is a better place for children and a place which has learned many lessons.”
The award-winning broadcaster was best known for 1999 RTE documentary series, States Of Fear, which unveiled the extent of physical and sexual abuse suffered by children in the Irish childcare system during the 20th century – particularly in industrial and special schools run by religious orders on behalf of the Irish state. It was followed by a co-authored book on the issue.
The Irish Government responded with the setting up of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.
Published nine years later, the Ryan Report revealed the church hierarchy and Irish Government covered up almost four decades of sexual abuse and beatings by priests and nuns on thousands of children in state care, with serial abusers moved from school to school.
Ms Raftery also produced and directed Prime Time Investigates: Cardinal Secrets in 2001, which led to the Murphy Report into child sexual abuse in Dublin and, later, in Cloyne.
It found the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland was granted immunity to cover up child sex abuse among paedophile priests in Dublin.
RTE director-general Noel Curran said Raftery’s journalism was defined by determination and fearlessness.
“Her record in broadcasting is extraordinary, and not just in current affairs, with which she is most associated,” he said.
“She has left an important legacy for Irish society, particularly for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Andrew Madden, a survivor of child abuse and a leading campaigner, said he will be forever grateful to Ms Raftery for exposing the scandals.
“Mary was instrumental in helping many of us as we sought to expose the truth about what the Catholic Church and others knew about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Ireland,” he said.
“Mary understood that the Catholic Church’s concealment of the sexual abuse of children was systemic but that it could best be exposed by helping survivors share personal experience and through her work provided a way for some of us to do that.
“Mary Raftery has contributed hugely to helping survivors receive some semblance of justice.”
Colm O’Gorman, a survivor who set up the One In Four support group, said in Ms Raftery the country has lost one of its finest journalists.
“She was such a gentle, warm woman, but one of the most principled people of the highest integrity that I’ve ever been fortunate to meet,” he said.
“She has done this society and this country an extraordinary service.”
After leaving the staff of RTE in 2002, Raftery wrote a column for the Irish Times, became a frequent contributor to several other stations and taught in the Centre for Media Studies at NUI Maynooth.
In April 2010, her play No Escape, based on the Ryan Report, was staged at the Peacock Theatre in Dublin.
Her last documentary, Behind The Walls, was broadcast last September and charted the history of Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals, their appalling conditions and the resulting damaged lives.
John Kelly, of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said news of Ms Raftery’s death is a cause of deep sadness for all survivors who remember her enormous contribution to the revelations of historical child abuses in Ireland’s enclosed institutions.
“We each owe a great deal to Mary’s steadfast courage that brought hope where there was despair and vindication when it was sorely needed,” he added.
10 Jan 2012
Journalist Mary Raftery who was instrumental in challenging the Irish state and Catholic Church on clerical child abuse has died.
She was best known for her 1999 ground-breaking “States of Fear” documentaries.
Mary Raftery’s documentaries brought seismic change to Irish society
They revealed the extent of abuse suffered by children in Irish industrial schools and institutions managed by religious orders.
It led to taoiseach Bertie Ahern apologising on behalf of the state.
Her work also led to the setting up of the Ryan Commission, which reported in May 2009, and to the setting up of a confidential committee which heard the stories of victims of institutional abuse.
Speaking about her findings to the BBC in 2009, Mary Raftery said: “There was widespread sexual abuse, particularly in the boys’ institutions.
“Extremely vicious and sadistic physical abuse, way off the scale, and horrific emotional abuse, designed to break the children.
“We had people talk to us about hearing screams… the screams of children in the night coming from these buildings and really not knowing what to do.
“They didn’t know to whom they could complain because the power in the town was the religious order running the institution.”
Following the documentaries, the government set up the Residential Institutions Redress Board which has compensated about 14,000 people to date.
And her 2002 documentary “Cardinal Secrets” with Mick Peelo for RTE led to the setting up of the Murphy Commission into clerical abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.
Ms Raftery worked for RTE from 1984 to 2002.
She wrote a column for the Irish Times and taught at the Centre of Centre of Media Studies at NUI Maynooth.
RTÉ Director General Noel Curran said her journalism was defined by determination and fearlessness, and that she had left an important legacy for Irish society.
Seamus Dooley, Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said her death was a “significant loss”.
“She will be mourned by all who knew and respected her as a fearless journalist who was always willing to ask awkward questions, to seek out uncomfortable facts and to shine a light in the darkest corners of Irish society,” he said.
“Mary will be best remembered for her ground breaking documentaries, ‘States of Fear’ and ‘Cardinal Secrets’, but her contribution to Irish journalism was multi-faceted.
“Her passion for social justice informed Mary’s journalism at In Dublin, in Magill and in RTÉ. Her work was always challenging, always provocative yet always sensitive.”
Summing up her work in a newspaper interview last September, she said: “The most important thing you can do is to give a voice to people who have been silenced. And …what else would I be doing?”
Mary Raftery is survived by her husband, David Waddell and their son, Ben.
19 Dec 2011
The Department of Justice has published the redacted portions of the Cloyne Report (pdf), which deal with Fr Ronat.
The report into clerical child sexual abuse was published in July but sections were not published following an order by the High Court.
However, the court ordered on Friday that the report could be published in full.
Fr Ronat served in a number of parishes and was a teacher and career guidance counsellor for a number of years.
All complaints made against him were made between 1989 and 2009, but they mainly relate to the 1970s and 1980s. He retired in 2005 and is no longer in ministry.
The commission is aware of 11 complainants who allege they were sexually abused by Fr Ronat, three of whom were young adults at the time the abuse allegedly took place.
Fr Ronat practised hypnosis as a means of dealing with the problems of people who came to him in his capacity as a guidance counsellor.
A number of complainants told the commission that they were asked about hypnosis when they were making a complaint.
Bishop John Magee denies any knowledge of Fr Ronat practising hypnosis. Fr Ronat told the commission that he did use hypnosis but only as a hobby.
He said that he did not use it with people who had emotional problems, but only for treatment of addictions, such as tobacco and alcohol. He said he practised hypnosis from 1981 to about 1988 or 1989.
The Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, has said it is regrettable that procedures for dealing with abuse cases were not carried out in Cloyne.
He said: “On behalf of the Diocese of Cloyne, and on my own behalf, may I express my profound sorrow and once again extend my sincere sympathy to those who have been abused and to their families.
“I would like to assure the public, and particularly the people of the diocese of Cloyne, that all of the child safeguarding procedures set out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church are being implemented fully.”
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the redacted portions of the report detailed the failure of the Catholic Chuch to comply with its own child abuse guidelines and to ensure that allegations of abuse when first received were brought to the notice of gardaí.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said: “I am deeply disturbed at the findings in this previously redacted chapter. My thoughts are with the complainants in this chapter and their families, all of whom must be commended for their courage and perseverance.
“It is clear that the priority of the church authorities in Cloyne was the protection of the institution of the church and not the protection of children in the diocese or the protection of other children.”
“This is just further evidence of the terrible wrongdoing that took place against a generation of innocent young people at the hands of those they trusted,” said Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue.
The Government today faced calls for an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse involving the former Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.
Senior garda are investigating two complaints made against the senior cleric, who was the head of the Catholic Church in the capital between 1940-1972. He died a year later.
The Church in Dublin has refused to confirm an Irish Times report that Dr McQuaid was the subject of two complaints made by two men who alleged they were assaulted when they were young boys.
Support group One In Four said if true, the allegations show the sexual abuse of children extended to the very highest levels in the Irish Catholic Church.
Director Maeve Lewis said: “Dr McQuaid was Archbishop of Dublin for over 30 years and was at that time possibly the most powerful, influential and feared man in Ireland.
“If Archbishop McQuaid was, as is alleged, a sex offender himself, then it is no wonder that the secrecy and cover-ups which have characterised the Church’s handling of sexual abuse was so entrenched.”
The Murphy Commission revealed it received an allegation about a cleric in 2009 as it finalised its damning report into decades of clerical abuse by paedophile priests in Dublin.
Hundreds of crimes against defenceless children from the 1960s to the 1990s went unreported, it said.
The three-year inquiry by Judge Yvonne Murphy revealed Catholic hierarchy was granted police immunity while four archbishops, obsessed with secrecy and avoiding scandal, protected abusers and reputations at all costs.
However, a supplementary report published on the commission’s website in July – the same day as the damaging Cloyne report – revealed new information about a cleric had been received in June/July 2009 as it completed its work.
Ms Lewis called on Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald to establish a sworn statutory inquiry.
“It is the only way to establish the truth of the matter,” added Ms Lewis.
“If Dr McQuaid is innocent of the allegations then it will be an opportunity to restore his good name.”
Dr McQuaid, who was also indirectly criticised in the Ryan report into abuse in industrial schools, once banned Catholics from attending Trinity College Dublin.
The Commission revealed a man made a complaint against a cleric to the Eastern Health Board in January 2003 – but that the information had not been handed over to the Commission by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
In May 2009 the complaint was made known to Phil Garland, then director of child protection in Dublin’s archdiocese. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin immediately informed the commission and the HSE subsequently supplied relevant documentation to the commission.
The archdiocese also trawled its files and discovered a letter to its solicitor which showed an awareness among a number of people in the archdiocese that there had been a concern expressed about this cleric in 1999.
However, the commission said it was satisfied the HSE’s failure to hand over the documentation was due to human error and that the Dublin archdiocese had no knowledge of the concern about the cleric.
Judge Murphy revealed Archbishop Martin told the commission last year he had received another abuse complaint against the same cleric.
“Archbishop Martin was under no obligation to give the commission this information,” the commission added.
“At this stage, it is a matter for the Archdiocese to investigate all complaints against this cleric.”
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Dublin said the matters in the supplementary report are now the subject of the ongoing investigation by An Gardaí, led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony – who is examining all the findings of the Murphy report.
It added that it had not disclosed the identity of anyone whom the Commission decided it itself could not name in its reports.
Meanwhile, the HSE said it would be inappropriate to comment further than what was already in the supplementary report.
By Caroline O’Doherty, Conall Ó Fátharta and Stephen Maguire
December 01, 2011
PRESSURE is mounting for official Government inquiries into the response to child sex abuse in all Catholic dioceses after Church-sponsored audits showed serious failings by numerous bishops.
Abuse survivors complained the six audits published yesterday were not independent and did not name abusers, detail how allegations were mishandled, or interview victims.
The audits found that, since 1975, claims were made against 85 priests in the dioceses of Raphoe, Tuam, Kilmore, Dromore, Ardagh and Derry with just eight priests convicted. But unlike the Ferns, Dublin and Cloyne inquiries, which were conducted by state commissions, the audits were by the Church’s own National Board for the Safeguarding of Children.
Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland said: “We need to be conscious that these are reports by a body sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, only published with the approval of the bishops concerned.”
Victims of serial abuser Fr Eugene Greene in Raphoe dismissed as a “whitewash the audit of that diocese, accepted by its bishop Philip Boyce to have ‘probably’ the worst child abuse record in the country”.
Victim Martin Gallagher said the audit failed to take account of victims who did not make formal complaints: “We’ve been let down again. The only thing that can be done now is a full state investigation. It took me 10 minutes to read it [the 20-page audit]. It was a joke.”
One in Four also said many survivors would be angry and frustrated that the audits did not explore the Church’s knowledge and handling of abuse in the past.
Opposition TDs called for official inquiries. Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on children Charlie McConalogue said investigations were needed into the role of both Church and state. “It is quite clear, given the upsetting and disturbing revelations today, that further investigations are needed.”
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said Raphoe required deeper probing, given the report’s lack of detail and independent overview.
Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald also acknowledged the limitations of the audits: “The publication of the six reports today, while to be welcomed, does not provide a national assessment of current safeguarding practice across the Catholic Church.”
The HSE is also auditing child protection practices across all dioceses and Ms Fitzgerald said: “We need to await the findings of this work before we can say with confidence that children are fully protected.”
She did welcome what she said was the reports’ “evidence of a new and more transparent approach by the Church to the issue of child protection”.
The head of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children, Ian Elliot, said the reports showed “improvements in the attitude to and understanding of child protection”. He said six more audits would be published next summer and it was intended audits into all dioceses and religious orders would be completed two years later.
• Raphoe: Three successive bishops, including the current one, made significant errors in responding to abuse allegations, particularly against Fr Eugene Greene.
• Tuam: Responses to allegations under predecessors to the current archbishop were defensive and internally focused with a lack of awareness of the suffering of victims. Two archbishops delayed in removing alleged abusers from ministry.
• Derry: Priests under suspicion were not robustly challenged or adequately managed, and often dealt with by being posted elsewhere.
• Ardagh/Clonmacnois: The approach to child protection was laudable but the diocese was not up to date on all paperwork and needed to form more structured working relationships with the gardaí.
• Kilmore: The diocese had become a model of best practice for child protection within the Church over the past 13 years but had learned from the damage caused by Fr Brendan Smyth.
• Dromore: An over- reliance on obtaining legal advice delayed action in some cases. Under a previous bishop, protecting the accused priest was the priority rather than child safety.
By Stephen McGuire
December 01, 2011
ABUSE victims have described the audit in Raphoe as a whitewash that was never going to uncover any new revelations.
Survivor John O’Donnell said the numbers of priests and victims uncovered by the audit was completely misleading.
“It’s nothing but a whitewash and I do not believe that Bishop Boyce was sincere. I know for a fact that there were many, many more victims of priests across Raphoe.
“How can they put a proper figure on it? What about people who were abused who have since gone on to commit suicide. Or what about those in metal homes or have become alcoholics or drug addicts?
“How can they have a proper audit when this is undoubtedly the case? They didn’t even bother to go and interview the survivors. How can this be a proper report,” he said.
Another victim, Martin Gallagher from Gorthork, said nothing but a full state investigation will satisfy those whose lives were ruined.
“We’ve been let down again — the only thing that can be done now is a full state investigation into Raphoe. It took me 10 minutes to read it. There was nothing in it — it was a joke. There was no voice for the victim.
“I was particularly angry at what Bishop Boyce said about survivors. What about those who didn’t survive? There are so many people in graveyards in Donegal who I believe took their own lives as a result of attacks by paedophile priests,” he said.
Bishop Boyce said the vast majority of both priests and lay people in the Raphoe Diocese who had been asked to take part in the vetting programme had done so.
“There is about 20 who have not and that is because there is simply a back-log.
“Anybody who does not agree to take part in this vetting programme will be asked to stand aside,” he said.
Bishop Boyce said he is now inviting all survivors of clerical child sex abuse to continue to come to him for guidance.
“The sexual abuse of a young person by a member of the clergy in whom that child placed unhesitating trust inflicts a terrible wound in the lives of victims, communities and in the Church.
“It is repugnant and constitutes a stumbling block to a life of faith in those who suffer. It gives scandal to the whole of society and it is rightly regarded as repulsive.
“All I can say again is that I am deeply, deeply sorry,” he said.
Call for action comes after publication of internal Catholic Church reports that find it guilty of inaction over paedophile priests
20 Nov 2011
**I would think it has been blatantly obvious for years that the Catholic church is not capable of ‘policing’ itself. That’s a bit like letting the fox guard the chickens. And yes, I am Catholic. The current bishop of Raphoe is talking the good talk, but in reality, he is still taking care of and promoting a pervert priest in Donegal.
Amnesty International has called for an independent inquiry into clerical child sex abuse in Northern Ireland after internal Catholic Church reports found the clergy guilty of inaction over paedophile priests.
An inquiry in Derry found that allegations were not robustly challenged or adequately managed, and that priests who were moved out of parishes in the diocese continued to abuse elsewhere.
Monsignor Eamon Martin, acting as the administrator of the Derry diocese following the retirement of Bishop Dr Seamus Hegarty, acknowledged it was “disturbing” that the diocese seemed more interested in protecting the church than the children. He said the victims had been “violated, their self-esteem and self-belief battered, and their spirit crushed.”
In the neighbouring Raphoe parish just over the border in Co Donegal, a report revealed that there were 52 complaints of child abuse against 14 priests. More than 20 of the offences were committed by one priest, Fr Eugene Green. In Raphoe it was found that the practice of failing to report allegations of abuse went on for 36 years.
The current Bishop of Raphoe, Phillip Boyce, accepted that in his diocese “insufficient emphasis was placed on the needs of victims, often in the misguided attempt to protect the reputation of the Church.”
One of the main whistleblowers who brought the abuse to light in Raphoe was a Garda Síochána officer Martin Ridge who claims the church hierarchy repeatedly ignored the claims of victims.
The pattern of reports of abuse being ignored or priests suspected of abusing children being moved out of dioceses, even to other parts of the world, is replicated throughout the six reports, that include Tuam in the west of Ireland and Dromore in Northern Ireland which takes in the border region around Newry.
Reacting to the reports by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, Amnesty International said the findings were “barely a glimpse into the horror of abuse suffered by children in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”
Backing calls for an inquiry, Amnesty’s programme director in Northern Ireland, Patrick Corrigan, said: “Clerical abuse survivors in Northern Ireland have been in touch with Amnesty and have told us they wish to see a proper, independent public inquiry into clerical child abuse in this jurisdiction. Survivors of clerical abuse in the Republic of Ireland have seen the state institute inquiries into the dioceses of Dublin, Ferns and Cloyne and have seen the Taoiseach speak out on behalf of victims. In Northern Ireland, to date, there has been no such examination. ”
The human rights organisation also challenged the power-sharing coalition at Stormont to back demands for an independent inquiry
“The Northern Ireland Executive has an obligation to ensure a thorough investigation of child abuse within this jurisdiction, regardless of when that abuse took place and regardless of the occupation of the alleged abuser,” Corrigan said.
30 Nov 2011
Audits of child protection practices – conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church – have been published by six dioceses.
Much attention is focused on the Diocese of Raphoe, where the board found that there were serious delays in reporting concerns to the civil authorities over a 36-year period.
The report on the Diocese of Derry said allegations were not robustly challenged or adequately managed and problems were often handled by moving priests to postings elsewhere.
List of helplines for those affected by abuse
. 52 allegations reported to gardaí against 14 priests
. Eight out of 14 priests out of ministry, six retired
. Four convicted of an offence against a child
. Significant errors of judgement made by successive bishops
. Too much emphasis on accused priests, not victims
. More attention should have been given to preventative actions
. 25 allegations reported to gardaí against 18 priests
. Ten of 18 priests dead, eight out of ministry
. Two priests convicted of an offence against a child
. Safeguarding children plan “did not exist in previous years”
. Past practices were “defensive and internally focused”
. Current Archbishop “showing strong leadership” in dealing with allegations
. Seven allegations reported to gardaí against seven priests
. Three out of seven priests dead, two out of ministry, two retired
. One convicted on an offence against a child
. One priest living in the diocese is known to be the subject of an allegation arising from a past ministry
. Fr Brendan Smyth response was “inadequate”
. No cases of a failure to report and address matters
. Current practices are a “consistently high standard”
. 31 allegations reported to gardaí against 23 priests
. 16 out of 23 priests dead, four out of ministry, three are retired
. No priests convicted of an offence against a child
. One priest living in the diocese is known to be the subject of an allegation arising from a past ministry
. Allegations not robustly challenged or adequately managed
. Abusive behaviour continued to be exhibited by priests who moved on
. 35 allegations of abuse against 10 priests
. Three of 10 priests dead, seven out of ministry
. No priests convicted of an offence against a child
. Not all allegations promptly referred to the statutory agencies
. Bishop McAreavey consulted appropriately to ensure safety of children remained priority
Ardagh & Clonmacnoise
. 14 allegations reported to gardaí against 13 priests
. 12 of 13 priests dead, one out of ministry
. One convicted on an offence against a child
. Two priests who reside in diocese are known to be the subject of an allegation arising from a past ministry
. Good co-operation by Bishop Colm O’Reilly
. 10 recommendations concerning training and administration
Reaction & updates:
1817 A survivor of clerical sex abuse in Raphoe has called for a State inquiry into how the diocese handled allegations against priests.
Martin Gallagher said the audit answered no questions and was a slap in the face for victims.
1815 Sinn Fein spokesperson on children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on the Church and State to ensure that the highest standards of child protection are adhered to.
1734 John Heany, from ‘Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, described the findings as a “whitewash” and a “PR exercise”.
1727 Former Bishop of Derry Dr Seamus Hegarty has said he is sorry that his managment of historical allegations of abuse caused hurt to victims.
Dr Hegarty was Bishop of Raphoe from 1982 to 1994 and Bishop of Derry from 1994. He retired on health grounds earlier this month.
In a statement, he acknowleged that his “practice in the past was sometimes poor” but said he had made “big efforts to improve as time went on”.
1517 Monsignor Eamon Martin has apologised on behalf of the Diocese of Derry to the victims of clerical sex abuse.
Monsignor Martin – who has been appointed diocesan administrator following the retirement of the Bishop of Derry, Dr Seamus Hegarty – said today was a painful day for victims.
He said their dignity had been violated, their self-esteem and self-belief battered, and their spirit crushed.
He said nothing could take away, what he called, the awful wrong done to them.
Monsignor Martin said it was disturbing that historical practice in the diocese had been weak and uncoordinated, and that decisions had been made to protect the Church instead of children.
1341 Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Colm O’Reilly has welcomed the review findings – but says he recognises that many people in the diocese will be upset and suffer renewed pain because of their past bad experiences.
1328 Of the 52 allegations against 14 priests in the Diocese of Raphoe - just over 20 relate to Eugene Green.
Speaking this afternoon, Bishop Boyce said it was incredible that no records of the case were in the bishop’s file – he believes that nothing went missing.
“It is hard to credit that no word was passed on to the authorities and it was probably the culture of the time that people didn’t speak to anyone.”
He said there was reference to a letter at the time of Eugene Green’s trial – but neither he nor his predecessor bishop Hegarty knew anything about that.
In relation to possible calls for a further inquiry, Bishop Boyce said that anything that is of value he would accept fully.
1321 “Our goal with these reviews is to assure lay faithful and clergy, and, particularly, parents and young people that the implementation of the Safeguarding Guidelines is effective and that where it is not, we will identify it and take action,” says John Morgan, Chairman, NBSCCC.
1242 Bishop Leo O’Reilly has said he is pleased with the review findings pertaining to current child protection practice within the Diocese of Kilmore.
He acknowledged there were failings in the past, particularly in relation to Brendan Symth, which he regretted.
In relation to two priests against whom allegations were made that are still in active ministry within the diocese, the bishop said their cases had been reported to the gardaí and the HSE.
He said the gardaí found there was no basis for prosecution and the HSE decided there was no risk to children and the allegations were never substantiated.
1213 A review into the handling of historical clerical sex abuse in the Diocese of Derry has criticised the manner in which allegations were dealt with by church authorities.
The report found there had been a “real lack of awareness of the suffering caused to victims by abusers” and an ignorance of the habitual nature of child abusing.
The review found priests against whom allegations had been made were “not robustly challenged or adequately managed” and that problems were often handled by moving the priest to another parish where there was evidence that the “abusive behaviour” often continued.
The authors said there wasn’t sufficient emphasis placed on “prompt referral to the police and social services”.
Case recording was also found to be “poor and unstructured”.
Psychological and psychiatric assessments of priests were not acted on.
However, the report commends the response of the recently retired Bishop of Derry, Dr Seamus Hegarty, for his “enthusiasm and commitment” in dealing with the National Board.
1140 The review of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise has noted the good co-operation given to it by Bishop Colm O’Reilly.
Reviewers found file keeping was very good and all documentation they required was made available.
The report found 14 allegations were made to gardaí concerning priests in the diocese since January 1975 and of those only one is alive and he is no longer in ministry.
One priest was convicted of offences against a child during the period.
There are two other retired priests against whom were allegations made currently resident in the diocese.
The report makes ten recommendations concerning training and administration, which the Board has asked the bishop to implement quickly.
The board has expressed satisfaction that the majority of these are already being advanced.
1137 The Derry Diocese report has revealed allegations were made against 23 priests since January 1975.
The report reveals that 31 allegations of abuse were reported to the gardaí and the PSNI over the same period.
Seven of the priests against whom allegations were made are still living, 16 are deceased and none of the priests in the Diocese were convicted of any offences against children.
The report found historically allegations against priests were not robustly challenged or adequately managed and problems were often handled by moving them to postings elsewhere.
It also found evidence that abusive behaviour continued to be exhibited by priests who were moved on.
The authors of the report also found that it was not clear that sufficient emphasis was placed on the prompt referral of the allegations to the police, which then led to delays in referring cases to the statutory authorities.
The authors of the report commended the recently retired Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty for his enthusiasm and commitment in dealing with the investigation.
1122 In addition to Smyth there were seven other priests in the Diocese of Kilmore who had claims of abuse made against them between January 1975 and November 2010.
All seven were reported to the gardaí and the HSE or the health boards.
Four of the alleged abusers are still alive. Only one priest has been convicted during the period of the review, according to the report.
The report states there were “no cases of a failure to report and address matters when they came to light.”
The report acknowledges that in the most recent case of abuse, laicisation had already been applied for and granted to a priest convicted of abuse.
The report makes several recommendations to Bishop Leo O’Reilly including the appointment of a lay person to the role of designated person and suggests planning a diocesan safeguarding conference.
1120 The report has found current practices in the Diocese of Kilmore are of a “consistently high standard” and the Diocese “may be viewed as a model of best practice within the Church in this critical area.”
The report praises Bishop Leo O’Reilly. Kilmore is one of the smallest dioceses in the country and has 36 parishes as well as seven religious orders within the diocese.
The only male order is that of the Norbertines Canons based at Kilnacrott Abbey where Fr Brendan Smyth, was a member.
The response to Smyth was inadequate and showed a disregard for the safety of children, according to the report.
However, none of that can be attributed to the present bishop and the report states that Smyth was a member of a religious order and not a priest attached to the diocese.
1112 The report says the commitment to safeguarding children that is evident in the Archdioceses of Tuam today “appears not to have existed in previous years”.
It says many of the cases managed by Archbishop Neary’s predecessors contained practices that were “defensive and internally focused, which would be entirely unacceptable today and showed a lack of awareness of the suffering caused by abusers”. No trace of that remained today, it says.
It says in the past there were delays in taking action in relation to priests against whom allegations were made but since his installation Archbishop Neary has shown “authority and quiet resolve” in keeping men out of the ministry where there was evidence to suggest they could be viewed as dangerous and should not have access to young people.
It said he had done this even when he had met resistance and opposition.
1110 The audit on the Archdioceses of Tuam is sharply critical of the way in which allegations of child abuse were handled in the past and says “serious harm was done to children by a few priests of the archdioceses”.
It says current Archbishop Dr Michael Neary is “showing strong leadership” and has been dealing with allegations made against priests with “a steadily serious approach and is taking appropriate action under existing guidelines”
The report says allegations of child abuse were made against 18 priests of the dioceses since 1975. Two priests were brought before the courts and convicted; ten of the 18 are now deceased – including one of those who was convicted.
The remaining eight are not in the ministry.
The report says the commitment to safeguarding children that is evident in the Archdioceses today “appears not to have existed in previous years”.
1100 The audit of 14 case files relating to the Diocese of Raphoe names only one priest, now laicised, Eugene Greene, who was jailed in 2000 for the sexual abuse of 26 victims.
The methodology employed was to examine case files comprising complaints, witness statements, respondent statements, respondent statements, notes of interviews and discussions, assessment reports, correspondence and other written material.
People with a safeguarding role within the diocese, including the Bishop and representatives from outside agencies were interviewed. The audit states it found the files to be well ordered, and consistently structured.
1057 The Bishop of the Diocese of Dromore Dr John McAreavey said he accepted all the recommendations.
Speaking at Newry Cathedral, he said many had already been implemented and the remaining recommendations would be put in place as a matter of urgency.
In total, 12 recommendations were made in the review. These include that Bishop McAreavey should consider writing to all complainants upon receipt of an allegation, offering them support and counselling.
1045 The review of how the Diocese of Raphoe handled allegations of child sexual abuse against priests has concluded that “significant errors of judgement were made by successive bishops when responding to allegations that emerged within the diocese.”
The review of case files from 1975 to 2010 states “too much emphasis was placed on the situation of the accused priest and too little on the needs of their complainants. Judgements were clouded, due to the presenting problem being for example, alcohol abuse and an inability to hear the concerns about abuse of children, through that presenting problem.”
1043 An audit of child protection practices in the Diocese of Dromore has revealed 35 allegations of abuse have been made against ten priests dating back over 30 years.
Of these priests, three are dead while the remaining seven are out of ministry.
The allegations date back to 1 January 1975. There has been no convictions of any priests in the diocese of having committed an offence against a child or a young person.
1042 Bishop of Raphoe Dr Philip Boyce has been speaking to Highland Radio this morning.
He said he was glad the audit for the Raphoe Diocese has now been published and expressed his deepest sympathies to everyone affected.
Asked about what information they contained in relation to Fr Eugene Greene, he said he came in as Bishop of the diocese in October 1995 and when he went through the files he saw no allegations against Fr Eugene Greene.
He said his predecessor Bishop Hegarty had assured him of the same thing.
He said the father of one of the boys who said he was abused had written a letter in the late 1970s but the first he had heard of this letter was 20 years later and he didn’t find any trace of it in the files.
He expressed his sincere apologies to those involved and said something should have been done about this complaint but there was no trace of it in the files.
He said this was a tragedy. To his knowledge nothing was destroyed since he came into the diocese.
He described the work of Bishop Hegarty as meticulous.
He said there was no guarantee that the letter had ever come to the Bishops office.
He said there was not an awareness of child abuse in the late 1970s and of the damage it causes to children.
1040 The audit on the Archdioceses of Tuam is sharply critical of the way in which allegations of child abuse were handled in the past.
It says “serious harm was done to children by a few priests of the archdioceses”.
However, it adds that the current Archbishop, Dr Michael Neary, is “showing strong leadership” and “is taking appropriate action under existing guidelines”.
1020 Bishop of Raphoe Dr Philip Boyce has said that during the past decades there have been very poor judgements and mistakes made in the Diocese of Raphoe and he fully accepts the recommendations contained in the review undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.
In a statement, the Bishop said the review examined all case files from 1975 to 2010 to determine how allegations and concerns were dealt with.
Its purpose was also to interview key persons involved in child safeguarding, judge how cases are currently assessed, how the statutory authorities are notified and determine if there are any current risks to children.
Bishop Boyce said the people of the Diocese of Raphoe have suffered much over the last 20 years with a proportionately high number of priests with complaints of child sexual abuse made against them.
The number of allegations was also high and it is to our shame that we admit this, the Bishop said.
0700 Later this morning, audits of child protection practices, conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, will be published by six of the country’s dioceses.
The board’s audits of Raphoe, Tuam, Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Kilmore, Dromore and Derry will also be published by the respective dioceses today.
The reviews were stalled for a year by bishops’ concerns that they would breach data protection laws by handing over certain information.
The board’s head, Ian Elliot, has complained of meeting obstruction from an unidentified source while investigating Raphoe’s handling of the abuser, Fr Eugene Greene.
Retired Garda Martin Ridge has accused the diocese itself of obstructing the criminal inquiry that resulted in the jailing of Greene for abusing 26 boys.
However Bishop Boyce has rejected this, saying the gardaí were happy with the co-operation offered.
Mr Elliot has said the value of the audits depends on full and complete access to all relevant documentation and information relating to the abuse of children known to the dioceses subject, where relevant, to the terms of the agreement reached on data processing.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
**Just a TAD late, Brady.
Cardinal Sean Brady has made a settlement wth a man who was abused by paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth
Cardinal Sean Brady has offered to apologise in person to the victim of a notorious paedophile after he made an undisclosed out-of-court settlement.
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland was sued by Brendan Boland, one of two teenagers he swore to secrecy in 1975 following his investigation into their allegations of abuse by Father Brendan Smyth.
The 50-year-old from Co Louth launched the case against Cardinal Brady and Smyth’s Norbertine Order 14 years ago.
The settlement was finally agreed shortly before a date for a hearing was due to be fixed at the High Court in Dublin.
Mr Justice John Quirke struck out the case.
While the settlement is not confidential, Mr Boland – who was not in court – has decided not to disclose the amount.
In a statement, the Catholic Church said it was agreed between Mr Boland and the Archdiocese of Armagh on the basis the abuse occurred in the archdiocese.
The victim was 12 when he started suffering two years of sexual abuse by Smyth in 1973.
He said that after confiding in a young priest, he was interrogated by three clerics – including a then Fr Brady – conducting an Ecclesiastical Court, and had to swear on oath that he would not talk about the interview with anyone but an authorised priest.
“My parents, who were good God-fearing people, and I were assured that Fr Brendan Smyth would not be allowed to associate with young boys and girls and that there would be no recurrence of the abuse which I and other victims had suffered,” he said.