Garda probe on clerical abuse nears completion
Published 31/05/2011 | 05:00
A GARDA examination of the findings of the Murphy Report on a cover-up of clerical child sexual abuse will be completed shortly.
A team of 10 detectives, headed by Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahony, was set up in November 2009 to determine whether bishops, gardai and state officials had criminal cases to answer arising from the findings of the commission of inquiry headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy.
Their examination is now nearing a conclusion and a report will be sent to Commissioner Martin Callinan, who will decide if it should be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The garda inquiry has been focused on figures criticised in the report and whether issues of criminal liability arise.
Its remit is to examine the findings of the Murphy Report in relation to how complaints of clerical abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese were handled, carry out investigations and inquiries as appropriate and present recommendations to the commissioner.
The detectives encountered a number of obstacles as they were unable to rely on evidence gathered by Judge Murphy because the State gave a legal undertaking that the testimony given would not be used in criminal prosecutions.
A number of people who could help with certain aspects of the inquiry are now dead or living abroad.
The Murphy Report concluded that archbishops handled child sexual abuse complaints badly, with none reporting knowledge of abuse between the 1960s and 1980s.
It found that some gardai considered the investigation of clergy outside their remit and in some cases complaints received by gardai were reported to the archdiocese rather than being investigated.
The month after the report was published, four bishops tendered their resignations, including Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray and Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin James Moriarty.
Two auxiliary bishops, Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh, also offered their resignations but Pope Benedict later decided not to accept them.
Meanwhile, the DPP is examining a number of other files that detail horrific abuse by members of religious orders.
Garda inquiries, led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, resulted in the emergence of fresh complaints of sexual and physical assaults by clerics and these resulted in the creation of up to 20 files for the DPP.