Friday, November 20, 2009

‘Shock’ sex abuse report gets go-ahead

‘Shock’ sex abuse report gets go-ahead

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Republic’s High Court has cleared the way for a damning report into the handling of clerical sex abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese — to be published next week — that “will shock us all”.

However, references to a second priest facing abuse charges are to be censored.

Last night victim support groups, who welcomed the ruling, were bracing themselves for an increase in calls to their services when the report is published, most likely within days of Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

Victims also pleaded with the government not to bury publication of the report with the upcoming Budget.

“It should be published no later than the middle or late next week, no later,” said Andrew Madden, the first person to go public about abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

Marie Collins, who was also abused as a child by a Dublin priest, said: “The stress over the last five weeks has been dreadful. I hope there are no more delays.”

Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin — who clashed with predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell last year over the release of secret Church files to the commission of investigation into child abuse — also welcomed the ruling.

Dr Martin said it was his preference that the report be published in its entirety, but he understood complex issues had to be considered.

Dr Martin, who addressed a meeting of Christian leaders at Emmaus conference centre in Swords, Co Dublin, left immediately after his speech yesterday to return to his office in Drumcondra to hear news of the court ruling. He stressed the report “will shock us all” and called on his clergy to receive its findings with humility.

Last month, the High Court ruled that all but one section of the report, Chapter 19, could be published, as long as all references to one particular priest and his victims were removed.

But Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, after consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, sent the report to High Court Judge Mr Justice Paul Gilligan again, amid fears the report could prejudice proceedings against the priest.

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