Tuesday 10 December 2019

Cardinal wants 'just resolution'

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland said he wanted to work towards a just resolution in a court case being taken against him by an alleged victim of clerical abuse.

Cardinal Sean Brady has been called to withdraw his defence in a legal battle with a man who claims he was abused by notorious paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

It is understood the man is suing Dr Brady at the High Court in his capacity as Archbishop of Armagh. In a statement the Cardinal said he wanted to "work towards a just resolution of the case.. conscious of the rights of all concerned." He said he had asked his legal representatives to engage the legal representatives of the complainant with a view to progressing the case.

"As these matters are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings, and in light of the instructions I have given to my legal representatives today, it would be inappropriate for me to offer any further comment at this time," the Primate of All Ireland added.

A solicitor for the man - who was a young altar boy, when he said he was abused by Smyth in the early 1970s - is reported to have written to the Cardinal's solicitor stating his defence was compounding the grievous wrongs perpetrated on his client.

The man's legal team also asked the Cardinal to withdraw his defence to give practical expression to the Cardinal's recent statements of remorse about clerical sexual abuse.

The churchman recently apologised to anyone who had been hurt by any failure on his part. "Looking back, I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in," he told mass goers.

However the Cardinal refused to resign over recent disclosures that he failed to report complaints of abuse made against Smyth to gardai in 1975. He confirmed he met two alleged victims at the time and passed the information on to superiors, who removed Smyth's licence to act as a priest.

But he continued to rape and molest young boys and girls until he was brought to justice in the mid 1990s. His case was one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland and also led to the collapse of the Irish Government's Fianna Fail/Labour coalition in 1994.

He was later jailed for sex attacks on about 90 children in the north and south of Ireland over a 40-year period and died in prison.

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