Diocese pays out €13.5m for abuse
THE Dublin archdiocese has paid out €13.5m in settlement claims involving child sexual abuse by priests, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin revealed last night.
In an update of the diocese's procedures for safeguarding children, Archbishop Martin said this figure consisted of €9.3m in settlements and €4.2m in legal costs for both the archdiocese and claimants.
Archbishop Martin also revealed it was now known that 570 people were abused by clerics in Dublin, the largest of the 26 dioceses in the Irish Catholic Church.
Since the publication in November 2009 of the shocking Murphy report into the horrendous scale of abuse in the Dublin diocese from 1940 to 2004, Archbishop Martin confirmed that 50 more people had come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse against 20 priests.
While these allegations related to "historic" cases, nine of these allegations were made against priests who were not previously on the Dublin dioceses internal records, he added.
But Archbishop Martin insisted that while he was confident in the high standards operating in Dublin, "there could be no room for complacency regarding the protection of children".
Reinforcing the child welfare progress made under Archbishop Martin's leadership, Andrew Fagan, the Dublin diocese's director of the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service, said: "No priest deemed a risk to the safety of children is currently in ministry in the Dublin diocese."
Mr Fagan insisted Dublin priests "want children to come to Mass, to serve on altars, to sing in choirs, to go on retreats and to be happy and safe as they do so".
Staff members of the diocese's child protection office have compiled a booklet outlining policies to safeguard children, which will be distributed to all parishes.
To date, 2,500 parishioners have taken part in child protection programmes, and more than 17,000 people have been vetted by gardai.
Archbishop Martin said this level of commitment was the best assurance that policies would be part and parcel of daily parish life.
On the Vatican probe into the Dublin diocese, Archbishop Martin said this was completed and a report would be presented to the Vatican by the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, at Easter.