Gormley: I'd have no difficulty with garda inquiry
Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00
GREEN Party leader John Gormley last night heaped further pressure on Cardinal Sean Brady by saying he had "no difficulty" with a garda investigation into the primate's role in an alleged cover -of child abuse.
And Mr Gormley accused Cardinal Brady of letting evil triumph over vulnerable children.
Cardinal Brady has been under intense pressure to resign from his position as Catholic Primate of All-Ireland since it was revealed he was present at meetings where a young boy and girl were asked to sign oaths of secrecy over allegations they were abused by notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.
At the 1975 meetings, the then Fr Sean Brady was secretary to the diocese of Kilmore.
He acted as recorder of evidence on behalf of the late Bishop Francis McKiernan at one meeting and he questioned witnesses during a second.
The Environment Minister's statement follows calls from the Labour Party for a full-scale investigation to determine whether the failure to report Smyth's crimes was a crime itself.
The minister said he had "no difficulties" with the idea of a garda investigation into the events of 1975, if it was required.
When asked if Mr Gormley supported an investigation, his spokesman said the minister could not direct the gardai.
But Mr Gormley said the question of resignation was a matter for the cardinal's conscience and church authorities.
"I suppose in many ways, it is a case of evil triumphing while a good man stood back from a situation," Mr Gormley said. "I suppose it is a matter for the church authorities, Cardinal Brady and his own conscience."
Labour's Roisin Shortall has already called for a garda investigation to determine whether the failure to report Smyth's crimes was a crime itself. The party again reiterated calls for Cardinal Brady to step aside.
Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte said it was a very serious matter to ask two people to sign an oath of secrecy.
"Firstly, to require two young people to sign an oath of secrecy is a very serious imposition given the matters that were at issue," he said. "Secondly, if action had been taken in 1975, we don't know how many young people would have been spared the horror of abuse inflicted on them by Smyth."
But Taoiseach Brian Cowen has refused to join in calls for the cardinal's resignation.
In advance of his St Patrick's Day meeting with US President Barack Obama in the White House, he said it was a matter for the church to decide on.
"The leadership I'm giving is that clearly it's important the State maintains its space and the church maintains its space. It's not a question for the State to get involved in church matters," he said.
Mr Cowen did not call on the gardai to investigate whether Cardinal Brady had broken the law, despite his coalition partner Mr Gormley supporting such a move. He said the gardai were authorised to investigate if they were required to do so.