Thursday 23 November 2017

Gardaí entitled to keep record on ex-priest

'The court refused the former priest's wife orders seeking the removal of the material concerning her and her two children from the garda PULSE database' Stock photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
'The court refused the former priest's wife orders seeking the removal of the material concerning her and her two children from the garda PULSE database' Stock photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tim Healy

Gardaí are entitled to keep a computer record relating to allegations of historic child sex abuse against a former priest, the High Court has ruled.

The court refused the former priest's wife orders seeking the removal of the material concerning her and her two children from the garda PULSE database.

He had left the priesthood in 1995 and later married. The abuse allegations, involving sex with two children, dated back to 1981. The PULSE record states that historical abuse allegations were made against the former priest and as he now has two children, there "may be child protection issues".

It also states the former priest is considered to be of such a low risk level that the HSE would be entitled to close its file on him.

The wife claimed the refusal to erase the material breached her and her children's constitutional and European Convention privacy and family rights.

The Garda Commissioner argued that the PULSE record was factually accurate and was not capable of causing any harm to her or her children. To properly conduct their functions, gardaí need to maintain an accurate record of incidents such as the making of a complaint, it was argued.

Rejecting the wife's application, Mr Justice Michael White said the record arose after a complaint was made by a woman to the former priest's religious order that she had been abused by him as a child.

The order referred the matter to gardaí who carried out an investigation. Statements were taken from two alleged victims who did not want to pursue the allegations and the DPP directed there be no prosecution.

Irish Independent

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