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Backlash over invitations to Magee meeting

A NUMBER of clerical abuse victims in Cloyne will accept an invitation to meet former Bishop Dr John Magee in the New Year.

Archbishop Dr Dermot Clifford -- who has been running the Cork diocese for the past three years -- issued the invitation on the basis it might assist victims as part of the healing process.

However, other abuse victims are expected to refuse the invitation -- with some saying they would find a meeting with Dr Magee "too upsetting".

Dr Magee had first offered to meet victims last August -- but the planned meetings will now take place, organised by the Diocese of Cloyne, at agreed locations in the New Year.

It is understood the meeting will be offered on an individual or group basis if preferred and will include Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan who, as Vicar-General, was entrusted by Dr Magee with implementing Cloyne's child protection policy.

Both Dr Magee and Monsignor O'Callaghan were slated in the Cloyne Report for their mishandling of abuse complaints.

The Irish Independent understands that a number of victims are now keen to hear Dr Magee's explanation at first hand for the catalogue of errors that marked his diocese's handling of abuse complaints over almost 20 years.

Dr Magee has repeatedly apologised for what happened and said he was now pleading for forgiveness from victims on "bended knee".

However, other victims remain furious over what happened -- and the fact that Dr Magee was not present in person last July at a special press conference to outline the church's response to Judge Yvonne Murphy's 27-chapter report. They are expected to refuse to attend the meeting.


"I haven't made a final decision yet but I want to be sure that this is a genuine effort to help victims rather than some kind of PR stunt. But it is a bit late in the day now for all of this," one victim said.

She said that other victims are likely to refuse such meetings on the basis they would be too upsetting.

The father of one complainant -- who is now dead -- said it was "terribly hurtful" to discover that a senior diocesan official investigating her allegation referred to her in documentation as the "Ophelia of Hamlet".

Irish Independent