Clerical abusers shielded by ‘cabal’ of protection in church
Archbishop reveals Cloyne abusers may have 'friends in the Vatican'
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.
Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican."
Asked yesterday who was preventing the protection of children, he said: "The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous. It's for all of us to see where they are, but in the long term I have to take the responsibility that in Dublin there are not cabals who reject our child protection laws.
"Everybody knows there are people who have challenged what I do, there are people who challenge what the Diocese does, people challenge what the national norms are. They exist. The way we get out of the cabals is by those of us who are convinced of what we are doing, being strong together."
His comments come as a national audit of clerical sex abuse by the gardai's sexual crime unit is expected to reveal a huge volume of complaints against priests dating back 80 years when it is completed within months.
Yesterday in a long-awaited response the Vatican said it was "sorry and ashamed" of what happened in the Irish church, but denied it aided a cover up.
The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday: "I remain of the view that the 1997 letter from the Nuncio provided a pretext for some to avoid full cooperation with the Irish civil authorities.
"The sexual abuse of children is such a heinous and reprehensible crime that issues about the precise status of documents should not be allowed to obscure the obligation of people in positions of responsibility to deal promptly with such abuse and report it."