Friday 18 October 2019

Former Cloyne bishop returns to Ireland but hides from public eye

Magee stays at secret location as clamour grows for answers on report

Ralph Riegel

FORMER Bishop of Cloyne Dr John Magee was last night at a secret location after dramatically returning to Ireland.

His return sparked renewed demands for him to answer questions about the damning revelations of the Cloyne Report into how his former Cork diocese mishandled clerical child abuse allegations.

The Irish Independent can reveal that Dr Magee (74) has already visited his retirement property in Mitchelstown. The decision to return has been interpreted as an indication he may now be prepared to address the controversy.

However, he was not at the parochial house in the north-Cork town last night -- and sources said he is staying with friends.

The Newry-born cleric stayed at the house for a night earlier this week.

His return will intensify pressure on the former Vatican official to personally and publicly address key issues in the Cloyne Report. The Catholic Church refused to comment last night.

Church spokesman Martin Long said he had nothing further to add to earlier comments of Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who is now running the sprawling Cork diocese.

Archbishop Clifford comprehensively dealt with the report publication last month and said he understood that Dr Magee was abroad.

However, he warned that it would have been "helpful" if Dr Magee had personally faced the media.

A Cloyne diocesan spokesman yesterday said Dr Magee has not informed them about whatever future plans he may have.

Gardai have no plans to contact Dr Magee over the Cloyne Report.

Dr Magee left the parochial house several weeks before the publication of the report on July 13. The probe was damning of Dr Magee and his former Vicar-General Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan over how they mishandled abuse complaints involving 19 clerics over a 12-year period.

It found that Dr Magee was ineffective and criticised him for taking little real interest in implementing guidelines on child abuse despite the fact the church had signed up to them.

Local man Tom O'Shea said that Dr Magee owed it to the community to answer questions raised by the Cloyne probe.

Irish Independent

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