Saturday 16 December 2017

Connell to blame -- Drennan

Bishop of Galway points finger over mishandling of paedophile priests

John Cooney

embattled Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan last night firmly laid the blame for the mishandling of paedophile priests in Dublin at the feet of Cardinal Desmond Connell.

In his latest attempt to fight off calls for his resignation, Bishop Drennan said all the major decisions about handling paedophile priests in the Dublin archdiocese were made by Cardinal Connell.

The claim will heap pressure on the 83-year-old cardinal to make a statement on the reports into clerical abuse which have plunged the Church into chaos.

Bishop Drennan, an auxiliary in Dublin from 1997 to 2005, named two former auxiliary bishops, James Moriarty and Dermot O'Mahony, as having specific responsibilities for notorious paedophile cleric, Noel Reynolds, who admitted to sexually abusing more than 100 children.

In a statement, Bishop Drennan gave details of what he claimed was his limited knowledge of Fr Reynolds' case.

He said retired Bishop O'Mahony had pastoral responsibility for hospital chaplains and he liaised with the Rehabilitation Institute where Fr Reynolds was chaplain between 1997 and 1998.

Bishop Drennan said he first became aware of allegations of abuse by Fr Reynolds against two sisters 'Martha' and 'Mary' in November 1998 in Kilmore West parish which was under the pastoral care of Bishop Moriarty who "was to deal with whatever issues and questions would arise".

He said he was unaware of the legal stance taken by the archdiocese when the sisters initiated a case in 2001.


Dr Moriarty is one of four former auxiliary bishops who resigned in the wa ke of criticisms of them in the Murphy report, accepting the principle of collective responsibility for not challenging the prevailing culture of secrecy in the archdiocese.

But Bishop Drennan, who was named in the report, has consistently said he did nothing wrong and that there was no ground for his resignation.

Referring to how the report drew attention to a major breakdown in communication in the archdiocese, Bishop Drennan said, at the time of his appointment, he was not furnished with information concerning priests working in his pastoral area of Bray and East Wicklow.

"During the period covered by the Murphy report, when I was an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese, the Archbishop made all major decisions, which was his responsibility by virtue of his office," added Bishop Drennan.

Bishop Drennan said he took up duty in the Dublin diocese in late September 1997 when Fr Reynolds was already appointed to the National Rehabilitation Institute, and he would have understood this appointment to be part of the normal summer appointments, which then Archbishop Connell always made.

Bishop Drennan said he was unaware of any allegations of sexual abuse against Fr Reynolds until Archbishop Connell informed the auxiliaries at one of their monthly meetings in May or June 1998 that an allegation had been made and was being investigated.

He added he did not attend a meeting of priests from parishes where Reynolds had worked, at which they were told about the allegations.

Irish Independent

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