Friday, December 24, 2010

Enquiry should cover all dioceses

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/1223/1224286170829.html
Sex abuse inquiry should cover all dioceses, says FG
PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Thu, Dec 23, 2010

THE REMIT of the Murphy commission should be extended to include all Catholic dioceses in the State, Fine Gael spokesman on children Charlie Flanagan has said. “It is clear from the litany of horrors that have already been revealed that a full national audit of all Catholic dioceses is required,” he said.

The Murphy commission investigated the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by church and State authorities in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese and has just completed a similar investigation into Cloyne diocese.

Mr Flanagan was speaking yesterday in anticipation of the commission’s Cloyne report being handed over to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today.

News reports that it was to be handed over to the Minister yesterday were premature.

Reflecting on “what we already know of Cloyne, Ferns and the Dublin Archdiocese and from the Murphy and Ryan reports”, Mr Flanagan said: “The information which has emerged is too grave and the litany of abuse is too horrific for this to be avoided any longer.” He said “the culture within the church which allowed this abuse must be exposed and its countless child victims must be heard,” he said.

“Fine Gael believes the remit of the Murphy commission could be extended to cover other dioceses in the country. The Director of Public Prosecutions must also be furnished with all appropriate information.

“The veil of secrecy which facilitated the continued suffering of children at the hands of paedophile priests must be lifted for good,” he said.

However, and as matters stand, the commission is due to conclude its work by the end of this month when it will be wound up.

In January 2009 its remit was extended by Minister for Children Barry Andrews to include Cloyne. That followed the findings of Catholic church watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, that child protection measures in Cloyne were “inadequate and in some respects dangerous”.

Those findings were published on the Cloyne diocese website in December 2008.

The period covered by the Murphy commission investigation into Cloyne extended from January 1st, 1996 to February 1st, 2006. The Catholic Church’s Green Book /framework document, its first guidelines on child protection, was published in 1996.

It is understood the Cloyne report, the length of which is believed to be approximately 400 pages, will include findings involving all 19 priests who faced abuse allegations during the period investigated.

However, uncertainty remains over when the report will be published as it is considered likely the DPP may bring charges against one of the priests investigated.

That would mean the High Court could order that the relevant chapter be withheld until proceedings in the case are completed.

In March 2009 Bishop of Cloyne John Magee stood aside from diocesan duties and the Archbishop of Cashel, Dermot Clifford, was appointed by the Vatican as Apostolic Administrator to Cloyne.

© 2010 The Irish Times

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