Breaking News Irish News

Monday 18 February 2019

Inquiry urged into sex abuse claim

The Catholic church is facing calls to investigate allegations of abuse made against a former Archbishop of Dublin
The Catholic church is facing calls to investigate allegations of abuse made against a former Archbishop of Dublin

The Government is facing calls for an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against the former Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.

Senior garda are investigating two complaints made against the senior cleric, who was the head of the Catholic Church in the capital between 1940-1972. He died a year later.

The Church in Dublin has refused to confirm an Irish Times report that Dr McQuaid was the subject of two complaints made by two men who alleged they were assaulted when they were young boys.

Support group One In Four said if true, the allegations show the sexual abuse of children extended to the very highest levels in the Irish Catholic Church.

Director Maeve Lewis said: "Dr McQuaid was Archbishop of Dublin for over 30 years and was at that time possibly the most powerful, influential and feared man in Ireland.

"If Archbishop McQuaid was, as is alleged, a sex offender himself, then it is no wonder that the secrecy and cover-ups which have characterised the Church's handling of sexual abuse was so entrenched."

The Murphy Commission revealed it received an allegation about a cleric in 2009 as it finalised its damning report into decades of clerical abuse by paedophile priests in Dublin. Hundreds of crimes against defenceless children from the 1960s to the 1990s went unreported, it said.

The three-year inquiry by Judge Yvonne Murphy revealed Catholic hierarchy was granted police immunity while four archbishops, obsessed with secrecy and avoiding scandal, protected abusers and reputations at all costs.

However, a supplementary report published on the commission's website in July - the same day as the damaging Cloyne report - revealed new information about a cleric had been received in June/July 2009 as it completed its work.

Ms Lewis called on Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald to establish a sworn statutory inquiry. "It is the only way to establish the truth of the matter," added Ms Lewis. "If Dr McQuaid is innocent of the allegations then it will be an opportunity to restore his good name."

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section