Sunday 23 July 2017

Audits to reveal how dioceses dealt with child-abuse claims

Fergus Black and Grainne Cunningham

MORE details about how Catholic Church dioceses dealt with allegations of child abuse are to emerge within the coming weeks, the Irish Independent has learned.

As abuse victims await the report of the investigation into the Dublin archdiocese on Thursday, the Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed that another report of an audit of each diocese was expected to be completed over the coming weeks.

It will then be forwarded to Children's Minister Barry Andrews.

A spokesperson for the minister last night confirmed that he intended to publish details of the audits at whatever time they become available to him.

The audits sought to discover if all allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church had been brought to the attention of the civil authorities. It also sought to establish if each diocese had adequate child protection policies and procedures in place and whether or not these were being complied with.

The Irish Independent contacted Catholic Church dioceses around the country yesterday to ask if they believed a similar investigation to the Dublin archdiocese probe into child abuse allegations should be carried out in their own dioceses.

They were also asked if they would support an investigation in the diocese if the hierarchy called for other investigations and whether the diocese had ever been asked to carry out an investigation into alleged cases of abuse.

The Bishop of Clonfert, John Kirby, said he had submitted all the information concerning alleged cases of abuse to the HSE and to the National Board for Safeguarding Children.

The Down and Connor diocese said it had co-operated with the civil authorities as part of its own safeguarding procedures. Achonry diocese said it had answered honestly all the questions posed by the HSE. A spokesman answered 'No' when asked if the diocese believed it should undergo a similar investigation to the Dublin archdiocese.

However, the spokesman said they would support an investigation if the hierarchy called for it.

The Cloyne diocese pointed out that it was already the subject of an investigation into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations.

That investigation covers a 13-year period from 1996 to February 1, 2009.

A full history of any sexual abuse allegations affecting the Kilmore diocese are given on its website at

The information covers diocesan priests and those from religious congregations or other dioceses "who at some time held appointments in Kilmore, or who carried out short-term supply ministry without a formal appointment from the diocese, and against whom allegations or suspicions have arisen".

It reveals that between 1947 and October 1, 2009:

  • Allegations were made against six priests of the diocese. Two of these priests are now deceased. One is out of ministry and one has left ministry.
  • An allegation was made against one priest from another diocese who held an appointment in the diocese.
  • All allegations received have been reported to the statutory authorities.

After garda investigations, files were sent to the DPP in the cases of four of the diocesan priests against whom allegations were made.

In three of the cases the DPP decided not to proceed. In one case the DPP initiated proceedings and this case is before the courts. At time of going to print, no reply had been received from the dioceses of Galway, Kerry, Kildare and Leighlin, Killala, Killaloe, Kilmore, Limerick, Meath, Ossory, Raphoe, Tuam or Waterford and Lismore.

In the case of Galway and Raphoe, the questions were sent to an email address, but it was not possible to make any direct contact with the relevant spokesperson.

A message was also left with the Ardagh and Clonmacnoise dioceses. In the case of Cashel, queries were referred to the Catholic press office, while Cork and Ross said it would deal with the queries today. Queries were also emailed to the archdiocese of Armagh where a spokesman said they would be referred to Cardinal Sean Brady on his return from yesterday's conference in Maynooth.

Irish Independent

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