Martin passed letter from paedophile on to gardai
Published 10/03/2010 | 05:00
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin spoke yesterday about his surprise at receiving a letter from Spain last month from a notorious paedophile ex-cleric telling him his marriage had broken down.
Speaking at Maynooth, where he was attending the spring meeting of the Bishops' Conference, Dr Martin said this was the first and only contact he had had with Bill Carney, who was named as one of the worst serial offenders in the Murphy report on clerical child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.
"Nobody had the slightest idea he was married," the archbishop added. "It came as a complete and utter surprise to me."
Dr Martin said that there was a Spanish postmark on the letter, which he sent on to gardai.
Gardai confirmed that the letter had been received. However, it is understood that it contained nothing of any evidential value.
"The letter had no address, no way of contacting him," Dr Martin added. "The postmark was not specific.
"He wrote to say that his marriage had broken down. I do not know the point of it. It seemed to be a cri de coeur. But he gave no way for us to contact him."
Dr Martin said he believed that about a month ago the BBC had already identified him to be in the Canary Islands.
Speaking ahead of taking part late last night on the BBC's 'Newsnight' -- which broadcast an interview with Carney in the Canaries -- Dr Martin said Carney did not ask for anything in the letter.
On the programme, Carney told reporter Olenka Frenkiel that he disputed all the findings of the Murphy report except that he had pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting altar boys in 1983 and was given the Probation Act.
The Murphy report stated that there were complaints or suspicions against him in respect of 32 named individuals, and it quoted a psychiatric assessment diagnosing him as suffering from a "psychopathic personality disorder", which meant he must still pose some risk to children.
Dr Martin confirmed that Carney was reduced to the lay state in 1992 after being found guilty under canon law of child sexual abuse.
Before receiving the letter, Dr Martin said that the information he had was what was precisely stated in the Murphy report of his being resident in Scotland.
"There were rumours he was living in Scotland but there was no address," said Dr Martin.
He added that the Carney case instanced what happened when a man was thrown out of the priesthood and severed contact with his former diocese. The church "has much less control over him".
In the case of another notorious paedophile priest, Ivan Payne, who is paid an allowance from the diocese, he "can be fitted into a monitoring procedure".
Dr Martin also revealed that a previously convicted ex-cleric --who was due to face fresh criminal charges -- was seeking a judicial review of his record, and another cleric was taking an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Asked if Pope Benedict would accept the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field, Dr Martin said he had received no information from Rome on this.
He said that both Bishops Walsh and Field were still auxiliary bishops.