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Sunday 23 July 2017

Magee slated for new refusal to speak on abuse

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A GOVERNMENT minister has slated as "unconscionable" the refusal of the former Bishop of Cloyne Dr John Magee to answer fresh questions over a report into clerical child abuse in his diocese.

Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, a long-time campaigner for the Cloyne abuse victims, said it was absolutely imperative that Dr Magee (74) -- who is now back in Ireland -- gave a full account of his stewardship of the Cork diocese.

He also said the former papal private secretary needed to urgently address specific issues raised by the Cloyne Report via an open press conference.

"I am astounded that he (the bishop) has said he has nothing to add to his original statement," Mr Sherlock said.

"If he has any shred of human decency or moral fibre he will face the media and answer any and all questions put to him. It is the least that people deserve," he added.

Dr Magee -- who was at an undisclosed location last night -- returned to the Parochial House in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, last week but left again after the media reported his presence.

Archbishop Dr Dermot Clifford -- who has been running Cloyne since early 2009 -- last month said he understood Dr Magee was overseas.

Helpful

Dr Clifford added that it would have been "helpful" had Dr Magee been present for the publication of the Cloyne Report.

In a statement issued on his behalf last weekend, Dr Magee said he had "nothing to add to the answers given at this time".

"I wish to point out that I answered all questions put to me by the Commission of Inquiry and my responses are on the public record as part of the published report."

Dr Magee said he had repeatedly apologised to the abuse victims and took responsibility for the mistakes that were made by offering his resignation as bishop to Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010.

However, there is mounting speculation that Dr Magee is now considering a second, more detailed response to the Cloyne Report in several weeks' time.

One parish source last night told the Irish Independent that it was believed Dr Magee would remain in Mitchelstown for the foreseeable future.

The Cloyne Report was damning of Dr Magee and his former Vicar-General Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan over how they mishandled abuse complaints involving 19 clerics over a 12-year period.

The report also revealed that Dr Magee was alleged to have kissed a 17-year-old youth on the forehead. However, this was deemed to be inappropriate but not reportable behaviour. Dr Magee denied kissing the teen.

Both the Diocese of Cloyne and the Catholic Church have declined to comment.

Irish Independent

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