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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Brady under pressure as sex abuse victims talk of cover-up

Greg Harkin

CHURCH leaders will come under renewed pressure when a BBC documentary is screened tonight outlining the widespread cover-up of clerical sex abuse here.

'This World: The Shame of the Catholic Church' is said to focus on Cardinal Sean Brady's role in an ecclesiastical investigation that led to the silencing of two victims of Fr Brendan Smyth.

Victims of paedophile priests in Co Donegal will also tell how the church failed to deal with complaints which allowed one cleric to continue to abuse more victims.

The broadcaster has refused to comment on the investigation by reporter Darragh Mac Intyre but BBC sources say the documentary has "powerful testimony" from abuse victims.

Cardinal Brady refused calls for him to resign when he admitted that he was aware of and believed allegations against notorious paedophile Brendan Smyth in 1975.

The then Fr Brady attended two meetings that year at which abuse victims told of being attacked by Smyth.

Four months ago one of those victims Brendan Boland was paid compensation in an out-of-court settlement. Another victim received compensation from Smyth's Norbertine Order.

Mr Boland was just 12 when he was abused and accused Cardinal Brady of failing to publicly acknowledge the failings of the Catholic Church.

The victim and his parents had been assured that Brendan Smyth would not be allowed to abuse more children, but many more victims emerged over the next two decades.

When Smyth was charged in 1994, Mr Boland attended the trial. He said after the case was settled last November: "I met other victims who were 10 to 15 years younger than me who would not have been abused if the assurances given to me and my family had been honoured. This unkept promise was a further abuse of me."

Caught

The BBC documentary will also focus on the Diocese of Raphoe and in particular the horrendous abuse of children by Fr Eugene Greene.

He started abusing young boys in the 1960s and continued until he was caught 30 years later.

When one of his victims attempted to blackmail him, Greene felt confident enough to call gardai to lodge a complaint.

But a thorough investigation by local detectives saw them spend months interviewing dozens of victims.

A BBC source told the Irish Independent: "There will be new allegations and powerful testimony from survivors of clerical sex abuse.

"We believe this investigation sheds new light on several new areas. The Raphoe and Smyth cases clearly show that the church was warned about paedophile priests and yet further abuse took place after those warnings."

The programme will be broadcast tonight at 10.35pm on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

Cardinal Brady has already publicly apologised to the victims of Smyth and other paedophile priests and has offered to meet them.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church told the Irish Independent yesterday: "Cardinal Brady has dealt extensively with this issue over the past two years and he has no further comment to make."

Irish Independent

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