Ahern to receive 'damning' report on sex abuse
Published 22/12/2010 | 05:00
THE Government will today receive a top-level report into allegations of clerical child sex abuse in the Catholic diocese of Cloyne.
The report is expected to contain some damning findings on how the claims were dealt with by church and state authorities.
The commission of investigation, which was headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, has completed its inquiries, which covered a 13-year period from January 1, 1996, and February 1, 2009.
It was set up by the Government in January 2009 after a decision to extend the remit of the existing investigation commission into allegations in the Dublin Archdiocese.
The report will be presented to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, who will then submit the findings to the gardai.
Gardai will present a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine whether criminal charges should be brought as a result of the report's conclusions.
The Government must also seek the permission of the High Court to publish the report and the timing of the publication will then on the decision of the DPP on charges.
The move to refer the Cloyne allegations to the Murphy commission followed a report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children(NBSC), a Catholic Church watchdog, which found that child protection practices in the diocese were "inadequate and, in some respects, dangerous".
Under its terms of reference, the commission had to focus on a representative sample of complaints or allegations of child sex abuse, made to diocesan and other church authorities and to public and other state authorities during the period under review.
Defending the decision to refer Cloyne to the commission, Children's Minister Barry Andrews said the NBSC report had used very stark language about how the diocese had operated child protection procedures.
"These included saying that they had operated somewhat dangerous procedures, that they favoured perpetrators over victims in certain circumstances, and had taken a fairly minimalistic role in terms of sharing information with the board, even up to 2008," Mr Andrews added.
A Health Service Executive report had also highlighted an absence of information about specific incidents alleging abusive behaviour and said that information had not been made available by the bishops.