Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gilmore denies party plot to oust cardinal

Fionnan Sheahan and Lise Hand

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore last night denied politicians were trying to hound Cardinal Sean Brady out of office in the wake of revelations of his failure to report child rape allegations against the notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth.

Labour Party ministers continued to pile pressure on Dr Brady to resign yesterday -- in contrast to the approach of their Fine Gael colleagues.

Although government sources insist there is no tension between the parties, Labour has been far more vocal about the cardinal's position than their coalition partners.

Social Welfare Minister Joan Burton added to calls for him to consider his position.

She said the Catholic Church had a responsibility and Dr Brady had a "personal responsibility" in his leadership role in the church.

Ms Burton said Dr Brady needed to reflect on his position because it was "not really sustainable".

The Tanaiste rejected suggestions from some clerics that politicians were trying to force the cardinal to resign.

"No, it's not the case. I made the point yesterday in the Dail that there is a separation between church and State.

"It is not the Government's responsibility to decide who are bishops or who should remain on as bishops or cardinals. That's entirely a matter for the church," he said.

"What is the Government's business is to ensure that there is adequate protection provided for children in this State.


"We have seen appalling episodes of the abuse and rape of children in this country and people who had responsibility over them, including clergy people, and in effect a cover-up of that in many respects by church authorities," Mr Gilmore said.

"And what the Government are doing to deal with that is we are putting in place very robust legislation by putting the Children First guidelines on a legal statutory basis," he added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called on the cardinal to "reflect" on the programme on the BBC, which contained revelations on the handling of clerical abuse.

However, the Labour Party went further, with strong statements from both Mr Gilmore and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

Mr Quinn called specifically on Dr Brady to consider his position.

Irish Independent

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