Wednesday 11 December 2019

No decision yet on investigation into claims against Cardinal Brady – NI commander

A commander in Northern Ireland said a decision on whether to launch an investigation into the claims levelled against Cardinal Brady would not be taken until the evidence was fully assessed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said a specialist team already investigating alleged institutional abuse in the region was reviewing the documentary to see if there was prima facie evidence that an offence had taken place.

He said officers would "do the right thing" based on where the evidence led them.

"For the last number of months there has been an investigation ongoing under an operation called Operation Charwell into alleged institutional abuse and this is really the context in which we will examine the material that was made available through the BBC documentary," he said.

"Before we launch into an investigation or make knee-jerk responses to that, we will take an objective, evidence-based assessment of the material that was in that programme."

Mr Hamilton said he would not comment on whether the police had plans to interview Cardinal Brady.

The officer confirmed that the offence of withholding information was on the statute in Northern Ireland in 1975 but said it had not yet been established whether the documentary provided prima facie evidence that the law had been broken.

He also raised potential issues over the PSNI's jurisdictional responsibility, given that the programme focused on historic incidents on both sides of the Irish border.

Later, the Garda press office in Dublin declined to comment on whether it was investigating the circumstances around the Church inquiry.

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