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Thursday 30 March 2017

Probe after shoes used in tribute to abused go missing

Patricia McDonagh

GARDAI are investigating the unexplained disappearance of 1,000 pairs of children's shoes that were used to symbolise the suffering of victims of clerical abuse.

Abuse survivors had tied the tiny shoes to the railings outside a Dublin Cathedral on Sunday, to symbolise generations of children who fell victim to institutional abuse.

But yesterday it emerged that the shoes, which had been draped all around St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, had mysteriously gone missing from the railings.

It remained unclear last night whether they had been removed by a third party or stolen by an unscrupulous passer-by.

Symbol

Abuse campaigner Frank Robinson bought the shoes for €4,200 from Denmark to use as an international symbol against child abuse.

He was left distraught when he went to collect them from outside the cathedral later on Sunday to find they had gone missing.

Gardai last night said they were examining the circumstances leading up to the disappearance of the shoes, which were reported missing at 6pm on Sunday.

A spokesman for the pro-cathedral did not answer calls by the Irish Independent last night.

The shoes were initially hung up in a bid to urge Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to recognise the Catholic Church's shame when he turned up for Easter Sunday Mass at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral.

Those who were raped and physically and emotionally abused by members of the clergy heckled him when he arrived to celebrate the biggest event in the church calendar.

The church has been under immense pressure in recent weeks to push for the resignation of church hierarchy who were involved in the cover up of clerical child abuse.

In a move seen as a further failure for victims, Cardinal Sean Brady this week signalled he would not leave his position as head of the Catholic Church in Ireland -- despite widespread calls for his resignation since it emerged that he swore abuse victims to secrecy.

Irish Independent

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