Saturday, November 28, 2009

Commission 'must be set up' for Raphoe

Commission 'must be set up' for Raphoe

Saturday November 28 2009

A RETIRED garda, who investigated one of the country's most notorious paedophile priests, yesterday called for a commission of investigation into the Raphoe Diocese to be established as a matter of urgency.

Martin Ridge said a commission would finally uncover the extent of the damage perpetrated by former priest, Eugene Greene, who was moved between eight different parishes over a 30-year period before finally being convicted in 2000.

He was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to 41 sample charges against 26 victims, some as young as seven and many of whom were altar boys.

"We need a similar commission of investigation here. Why should the people of Dublin or Ferns be more important than the people of Raphoe," said Mr Ridge.

The Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce, who previously admitted there had been "rumours" about Eugene Greene when he took up office in 1995, said yesterday he would welcome a commission going into the Raphoe diocese.

"I would welcome anything that would help in any way to protect children," he told Highland Radio.

But a spokesman for his predecessor, Bishop Seamus Hegarty, now the Bishop of Derry, said they had enough issues of their own to be getting on with.

"It may be a 'wash the hands' attitude but it is my attitude. We have things to be going on with ourselves without bothering about 30 years ago in Raphoe," Fr Michael Canny told Highland Radio.

Greene was released from jail a year ago and is believed to be now living in Co Galway.

His horrific crimes came to light only after he approached gardai complaining that someone was attempting to blackmail him.

- Anita Guidera

Irish Independent

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