Saturday 25 November 2017

Bishop criticised in abuse inquiry dies

Bishop Dermot O'Mahony
Bishop Dermot O'Mahony

Sarah MacDonald

One of the bishops strongly criticised in the Murphy Report over his handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin has died.

Auxiliary Bishop Dermot O'Mahony (80) had been ill for some time.

In a statement, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin expressed his sympathy and said the priests of Dublin were "saddened" by the news of his passing as he held several roles of leadership and responsibility in the church.

However, the relationship between Archbishop Martin and Bishop O'Mahony is known to have been fraught. They clashed publicly in 2010 over the findings of the Murphy Report which Dr O'Mahony challenged. At one time he said he would legally challenge the report.

The Murphy report highlighted how he failed to tell either the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin diocesan authorities or the gardaí that Fr Noel Reynolds, who was a chaplain to the hospital at the time, had a problem with child sexual abuse.

Fr Reynolds later admitted sexually abusing over 100 children during his ministry at the hospital and in eight parishes.

The Murphy investigators also had grave concerns that Bishop O'Mahony gave a reference about 'Fr Tyrus' when he sought a job working with young people. The bishop was aware that 'Fr Tyrus' had had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl when he was a teacher.

Bishop O'Mahony told the Commission there was nothing to indicate the relationship was a sexual one. The former auxiliary bishop, who was a canon lawyer, criticised Archbishop Martin over his public comment that the management of abuse cases was "inexcusable".

Bishop O'Mahony was ordained a priest by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in 1960. In 1975, he became one of the youngest bishops ever appointed in Ireland. His funeral Mass will take place on Tuesday in St Anne's Church, Shankill in Dublin. Archbishop Martin will preside at his removal on Monday evening.

Irish Independent

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