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Saturday 20 January 2018

Church makes settlement with man abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

CARDINAL Sean Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, today made an out-of-court settlement with Brendan Boland who was abused by notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

After his 14 year fight for justice, Mr Boland issued a statement outside Dublin's Four Courts through his solicitor, Paul Horan.

Here it is in full: "I was abused by Fr Brendan Smyth between 1973 and 1975. I was 12 years of age when the abuse commenced.

"Ultimately, I confided in a young priest who was attached to my local youth club. He brought the matter to the attention of the Church authorities who convened an inquiry or Ecclesiastical Court at which were present three priests, one of whom was the defendant, then Fr Brady.

"I was interrogated principally by Fr Francis (Frank) Donnelly, (subsequently Monsignor), on my own at the said inquiry/Ecclesiastical Court.

"While my father was in the building, he was not allowed in to the room.

"I was subsequently required to swear an oath which was written down, administered and attested by this defendant: - 'I, Brendan Boland, hereby swear that I have old the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and that I will talk to no-one about this interview except authorised priests.'

"My parents, who were good God-fearing people, and I were assured that Fr Brendan Smyth would not be allowed to associate with young boys and girls and that there would be no recurrence of the abuse which I and other victims had suffered.

"As a result of these assurances, I felt safer and I hoped that the assurances would mean that others would not suffer as I had.

"I emigrated, married and raised a family.

"Some 20 years later, I was telephoned by my sister who told me that Fr Smyth was on the news and that it had been reported that he had abused other children subsequent to the ecclesiastical inquiry.

"I was devastated by this revelation.

"The fact that Fr Smyth has been allowed to prey upon and abuse other children, subsequent to the assurances having being given, was very hard to bear.

"I felt I had not done enough. I felt responsible for the misery of Fr Smyth's subsequent victims.

"My guilt plagued me.

"At the trial of Fr Smyth, I met other victims who were 10-15 years younger than I, who would not have been abused if the assurances given to me and my family and the youth club priest had been honoured.

"This unkept promise was indeed a further abuse of me.

"The first leg of these proceedings against Fr Gerard Cusack as Abbot of the Norbertine Order was compromised in 2005 and the remaining issue against the Cardinal has now been disposed of.

"These proceedings have been a considerable ordeal for me and have been strenuously defended by the cardinal.

"I accept that my case was not without risk on legal grounds and I am happy that it has been settled, albeit at the last minute.

"I would wish to take this opportunity to most sincerely thank my solicitors, Horan and Son, Galway, and my counsel, Henry Bourke, SC and Deirdre Browne, BL for their expertise, hard work and dedication which has brought about this settlement.

"While the cardinal has indicated he will meet me privately, I am most disappointed that he has refused, even through his lawyers in court, to publicly acknowledge and accept the failings of the Church in its handling of the circumstances giving rise to this case and to apologise for them and give an assurance that they will not be repeated.

"I hope that the Catholic Church will learn to show true compassion for all victims of clerical sexual abuse and withdraw all technical legal defence obstacles and ploys and make just offers of compensation where appropriate.

"I accept that the vast majority of Catholic clerics are good men. Can the Catholic Church not see that if it wishes to regain the almost universal respect which it once enjoyed and the moral authority which it would wish to wield, it must come to terms with all such just claims against it?

"While my own faith has been shattered by my experiences, is it unfair of me to ask: `What would Jesus have done? What would Jesus do?`"

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