Saturday 17 March 2018

Cleric has yet to face Cloyne tribunal on abuse

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE cleric at the centre of the Cloyne Report's largest chapter has yet to be formally interviewed by a church watchdog investigation.

This is despite the fact the report into clerical abuse which rocked the Irish church was first released 12 months ago.

One chapter involving complaints lodged against 'Fr Ronat' was withheld for legal reasons but it was finally released last December, six months after the remainder of the Cloyne Report was published.

The revelation came as one abuse victim -- who was not involved in the 'Fr Ronat' complaints -- urged the church to "fast-track" all its remaining internal investigations.

"The last thing we want is for this to drag on for months and years.''

The Irish Independent has learned that 'Fr Ronat' -- an elderly cleric who cannot be named for legal reasons -- has still not been brought before the internal church court of inquiry.


The cleric -- known by the pseudonym 'Fr Ronat' -- faces a special tribunal which has the power to recommend that the Vatican defrock or dismiss him from the priesthood.

The probe was signalled last December when the final chapter of the Cloyne Report -- compiled by Judge Yvonne Murphy -- was finally released.

The church has repeatedly insisted its internal investigation is proceeding despite fears that a shortage of canon lawyers threatens to delay it.

This shortage has affected church inquiries in other countries

A source confirmed that no tribunal hearings have been staged with the elderly cleric.

'Fr Ronat' -- who has never been convicted of any offence -- is vigorously protesting his innocence.

He has also threatened to take civil action against those who levelled claims against him.

The Diocese of Cloyne has repeatedly insisted their probe is going ahead.

"The matter is now proceeding," a diocesan spokesman said.

The diocese has declined to comment further beyond confirming that all recommendations on child protection issues raised by the Cloyne Report are being enacted.

The diocese is also selling off assets to fund compensation payments for victims.

'Fr Ronat' was the focus of 11 separate abuse complaints -- and the 42-page chapter in the Cloyne Report which deals with 'Fr Ronat' was so sensitive that its publication was delayed for almost six months.

Irish Independent

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