Thursday 8 December 2016

Victim was 'plagued with guilt' after taking Smyth oath

VICTIMS

Dearbhail McDonald and Mark Hilliard

Published 01/12/2011 | 05:00

A VICTIM of paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth told yesterday how he was "plagued" with guilt that more children were abused by the notorious cleric after he was sworn to secrecy during a church inquiry.

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Brendan Boland (50) yesterday settled a High Court action against the Archdiocese of Armagh, where the abuse by the now dead priest occurred.

Last night Cardinal Sean Brady, Ireland's most senior prelate who was sued by Mr Boland in his personal and official capacities as Archbishop of Armagh, reissued an offer to meet Mr Boland, who is now living in Britain.

Cardinal Brady was the official note-taker during the 1975 ecclesiastical hearing attended by Mr Boland, where the then teenager signed an oath not to discuss the interview with anyone except "authorised priests".

Cardinal Brady was then a 36-year-old priest.

Devastated

Mr Boland, who emigrated after his ordeal, said he was "devastated" to learn from his sister -- some 20 years after he was abused -- that other children had been abused by the Norbertine priest despite assurances he received from the church that the priest would not be allowed to associate with young people.

"I felt responsible for the misery of Fr Smyth's subsequent victims, my guilt plagued me," Mr Boland said in a statement issued through his solicitor.

"At the trial of Fr Smyth, I met other victims who were 10 to 15 years younger than I who would not have been abused if assurances given to me and my family and the youth club priest (to whom he originally confided the abuse) had been honoured.

"This unkept promise was indeed a further abuse of me."

Family members of Mr Boland, who is originally from Dundalk, would not discuss the settlement yesterday. The terms, which included compensation, were not disclosed.

Mr Boland's action against the Norbertine Order, of which Brendan Smyth was a member, was disposed of in 2005.

Mr Boland, who says that his faith has been "shattered" by his experiences, said that he accepted that the vast majority of Catholic priests were "good men".

But he said the proceedings against Cardinal Brady had been a "considerable ordeal" and had been "strenuously defended" by the Cardinal.

Irish Independent

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