Wednesday 26 July 2017

Support groups say Primate must now step down

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

SUPPORT groups for the victims of sexual abuse last night united in calls for Cardinal Sean Brady to step down as Primate of All-Ireland.

One in Four accused the prelate of "reckless endangerment" after he failed to report paedophile priest Brendan Smyth to gardai when he knew the cleric had abused at least two children.

Executive director Maeve Lewis said that while Cardinal Brady may claim his actions took place before the church embarked on its learning curve in relation to child protection, this did not excuse them.

"One does not need to be a learned theologian or an ordained priest to appreciate how grievously wrong it is to silence children in order to protect a sex offender," she said.

She wondered what the cardinal's feelings were when Smyth was convicted in courts on both sides of the border of sexually assaulting children and he heard the harrowing accounts of his victims.

"This latest disclosure removes Cardinal Brady's credibility to provide the leadership that is so vital at this time, leaving him no option but to resign," Ms Lewis added.

Silent

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, asked why the cardinal had remained silent about his involvement in the cover-up of paedophile priests since the publication of the Murphy and Ryan reports.

"Cardinal Brady had every opportunity to empathise with his colleagues who were found guilty of cover-up in the Murphy report, by admitting to his own cover-up of 35 years ago. He could have explained that this was due to the culture within the church at the time, but that now he knew better.

"But he didn't admit to his own experience. It only came out because of a pending High Court action against him taken by a female victim of Brendan Smyth's," she asked.

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said the cardinal must resign and there should be inquiries into all dioceses in the country.

The Rape Crisis Network has also called for Cardinal Brady's resignation, saying his position was now untenable.

"Cardinal Brady is personally implicated in collusion with clerical child sexual abuse," director Fiona Neary said.

"Sexual abuse that could have been prevented was not, and Brendan Smyth continued to abuse children," she added.

Irish Independent

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