Friday 20 October 2017

Victims of notorious paedophile priest want new hearing

Paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Tim Healy

Three victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth should get a new hearing of damages claims after it emerged senior clerics were aware of the abuse, the Supreme Court was urged.

The three, in the late 1990s, settled actions in Northern Ireland for between £16,000 and £25,000 (€18,500-€28,900) over abuse by Smyth.

The cases by the man and his cousin were against Smyth himself, the Norbertine order and the late Cardinal Cahal Daly.

His sister's case was just against the Norbertines, who paid all the settlement monies, with no admission of liability.

In 2014, the High Court halted actions the three brought here against Bishop Leo O'Reilly as representative of the Kilmore diocese over 2012 information in which it was alleged there was a failure to stop Smyth's abuse in 1975.

Former Cardinal Sean Brady was also sued in his personal capacity arising from his role as part-time secretary to former Bishop of Kilmore Francis McKiernan during the 1975 Church investigation into Smyth. That case is still live but may end if this appeal fails.

In 2015, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision dismissing their action.

Last year, the three got permission to argue their case in the Supreme Court, which yesterday reserved its decision.

Liam Reidy SC, for the man and his cousin, said further injury was caused to his clients when the Church's 1975 knowledge of the abuse emerged.

Rossa Fanning SC, for Bishop O'Reilly, said his client was mindful of the background. However, the man and his cousin, in settling their 1998 cases, had agreed it was not just in settlement against the defendants, but against any linked parties.

The third case, of the sister, was settled against the Norbertines but by implication it was against others, it was argued.

He asked if the words used in the settlements did not mean they could not sue again, then what did it mean?

Irish Independent

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