Tuesday 27 September 2016

Gardaí failed to probe clerical abuse claims, GSOC report finds

Published 24/07/2015 | 02:30

GSOC's report said that although complaints were not formally investigated, disciplinary proceedings could not be brought as the gardaí involved had since retired (Stock picture)
GSOC's report said that although complaints were not formally investigated, disciplinary proceedings could not be brought as the gardaí involved had since retired (Stock picture)

Gardaí in two different counties failed to investigate complaints of sexual abuse against the same priest.

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A report by the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) details how officers did not conduct formal investigations into claims made against the cleric, who served in the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne.

It followed a public interest investigation, launched by GSOC in March 2012, to establish whether gardaí had committed offences or should be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.

The unnamed priest featured in the Cloyne Commission report, where he was given the pseudonym Fr Corin.

GSOC's report said that although the complaints were not formally investigated, disciplinary proceedings could not be brought as the gardaí involved had since retired.

The report found that the failure to investigate was "mostly the result of a lack of adherence to procedures and processes".

The first complaint was referred to gardaí in Macroom, Co Cork by Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan in 1996 after a victim, called Nia in the Cloyne report, came forward.

GSOC said the district officer at the time believed an investigation was conducted.

However, he did not provide any evidence to support his claim and other gardaí who served at the station did not recall any probe being conducted.

According to the report, the officer may have neglected his duties, contrary to garda discipline regulations by failing to ensure a formal investigation took place. But it said that as he is retired, he is no longer subject to the regulations.

In the second case, a victim known as Oifa made a statement at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick after gardaí were informed of historical abuse allegations by the local health board, also in 1996.

The report said it appeared the taking of the statement was unsanctioned and was not part of a formal investigation.

The statement could not be located.

GSOC concluded one garda may have neglected his duties, but there was no evidence that the other officer breached regulations.

Irish Independent

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