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Saturday 22 July 2017

Victims' groups insist embattled bishop must go

Brian McDonald

VICTIMS of clerical sex abuse yesterday dismissed Bishop Martin Drennan's reasons for refusing to resign.

One in Four insisted that the Bishop of Galway must follow the example of his fellow former auxiliary bishops and offer his resignation to the Pope.

"One in Four believes that all those in authority who supported the culture of cover-up in the Dublin Archdiocese must assume collective responsibility for the endangerment of children," said One in Four executive director Maeve Lewis.

But Dr Drennan said that collective responsibility did not exist and the role of the auxiliary bishops was to support the decisions of the archbishop.

"All major decisions are made by the archbishop. We did not have access to the files or information on individual priests.

"Information was not always shared, because information was often given in confidence . . . to the archbishop and he was asked not to share it," he said.

The new church guidelines for dealing with clerical sex abuse complaints were introduced in 1996 and Dr Drennan became an auxiliary bishop in 1997.

"Post-1996, all allegations were reported to the gardai . . . We had an advisory panel that assessed every one of these allegations. There was no question of covering up," he said.

But sex abuse survivor Andrew Madden insisted yesterday that the then Archbishop of Dublin continued to mishandle cases of child sexual abuse against priests long after Dr Drennan became an auxiliary bishop.

Mr Madden said Dr Drennan was part of the governance of the archdiocese and should have challenged the prevailing culture.

"Resignations are not just about 'healing', they are also about taking responsibility for what one has done, or failed to do, in a way requested by those you have offended against, not on one's own terms," he added.

Irish Independent

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