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Wednesday 29 March 2017

Apology in private not enough, sex victim tells Brady

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

CARDINAL Sean Brady was last night facing mounting pressure to publicly apologise for swearing to secrecy a victim of notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland last week made an undisclosed settlement with Brendan Boland, one of two teenagers he made take an oath to remain silent after being interviewed in 1975 about their abuse allegations.

Mr Boland said it wasn't good enough for Cardinal Brady to apologise to him face-to-face in private, and that he needed to make amends through a public statement.

"I will always hope for Cardinal Brady to make a public apology because to me that would be him coming forward and letting people know that he really cares, and that he is really willing to change things in the way the Catholic Church operates in these circumstances," Mr Boland said.

The settlement last week ended a 14-year legal case, which Mr Boland described as a "bruising encounter".

In his first public interview, Mr Boland told RTE Radio's 'This Week' that he felt disgusted at the questions being asked of him during the interview in March 1975.

Fr Brady was the official note-taker at the hearing, where the then teenager was asked to sign an agreement promising not to reveal what he was asked.

Mr Boland, who is originally from Dundalk, said two other priests were also present -- Fr Francis Donnelly, whom he claimed asked the bulk of the questions, and Fr Oliver McShane.

The Catholic Communications Office last night said an offer by Cardinal Brady to meet and personally apologise to Mr Boland still stands.

It also referred to a homily delivered by Dr Brady in Armagh on St Patrick's Day last year, when he publicly apologised to those who felt let down by his actions.

"Over the years Cardinal Brady has met with survivors of abuse to express his personal apology for their suffering by those clergy who have perpetrated such egregious crimes and shattered a sacred trust," a statement read.

Sexuality

"In Mr Boland's case, Cardinal Brady was asked to offer an apology and to acknowledge and accept the failings of the church in its handling of the case, he immediately offered to write to and then to meet Mr Boland, in person, to offer that apology.

"Whilst this offer was not accepted, it still stands."

The spokesman said the public apology made in Armagh in March 2010 was being reiterated again through the statement.

Outlining details of the meeting, Mr Boland (50) said he was repeatedly questioned about his sexuality and his body before having to sign the declaration.

"You felt really alone and scared and I didn't know what to expect," Mr Boland said.

Mr Boland claimed the church had put a lot of "barriers" in front of him during his 14-year legal case.

Irish Independent

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