Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cardinal backs NI abuse inquiry

Cardinal backs NI abuse inquiry
Cardinal Sean Brady has said he would support calls for a Northern Ireland inquiry into clerical sex abuse.

The Catholic primate of Ireland is to go to the Vatican to meet the Pope next week to discuss the Murphy Report into abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

He also said he thought the bishop of Limerick would "do the right thing".

Bishop Donal Murray has been criticised over how he dealt with a paedophile priest when he was auxiliary bishop of Dublin.

"Bishop Donal Murray has been in contact with me, as you know he is considering his position and hopes to be in a position to comment soon and I'm confident Bishop Donal will do the right thing.

"I support the call of Bishop Martin for stronger leadership among us at this time because I think it's called for," Cardinal Brady said.

"I also support the request from Bishop Martin for those in a position to give answers, to provide explanations for what has happened, to do so."

Inquiry

The Department of Health and Social Services is to begin examining the possibility of setting up an inquiry into child abuse in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, the Ryan report in the Irish Republic said sexual and physical abuse had been endemic in homes run by Catholic religious orders.


After its publication, Northern Ireland assembly members called for a similar inquiry.

The BBC understands an official will soon begin analysing the possible scope and cost of such an inquiry.

After the Ryan report's publication, an assembly motion, passed with cross-party support, called for the Executive to commission an assessment of the extent of the abuse in Northern Ireland and liaise with authorities in the Republic of Ireland on matters related to it.

Now, the BBC understands that the Department of Health has directed a member of staff in its Child Care Policy Directorate to spend around a month examining what a "Ryan-like" public inquiry in Northern Ireland would involve.

They have been asked to examine matters like cost, legal issues and cross-border co-operation.

Their findings will then be considered by the Executive.

In the Irish parliament on Thursday, opposition member Alan Shatter said that he wanted to see an inquiry in Northern Ireland.

He called upon the Irish government to work with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Executive "to seek the creation of structures to address allegations of clerical and institutional abuse in Northern Ireland".

'Slur'

The Ryan Inquiry dealt with abuse in church-run institutions, while a separate report published last month, the Murphy Report, exposed the church's cover-ups of child sex abuse by priests in the Dublin Archdiocese.

Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor Donal McKeown said a Murphy-style inquiry to cover dioceses in Northern Ireland would be "a liberation".

"We have audited our own files in Down and Connor a number of times - people say that's not good enough, but I believe that on the basis on information we have in Down and Connor such a report would be good news for us.

"It would actually remove a lot of those assumptions that everywhere is the same as Dublin.

"I would welcome such a report to clear the name of a lot of good people who are working in church and resent the slur that somehow because some people have made horrible mistakes, everybody is to be tarred with the same brush."

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