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Prelate defends 'open policy' on abuse

John Cooney Religious Editor

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has told priests in a private circular he is determined to pursue an open policy over paedophile priests.

In a week which saw him pitted against his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell, over a High Court application relating to sensitive files, Dr Martin shored up his leadership.

Ahead of Monday's third hearing by the High Court on Cardinal Connell's legal moves to prevent disclosure of certain files, Archbishop Martin signalled his firmness to stick to his policy of full disclosure.

In a letter to the 200 parish priests in his Dublin Archdiocese, he wrote: "I'm acutely aware that the events of recent weeks have been unsettling.

"I have been contacted directly by victims who say this has reawakened the hurt they have felt in the past.

"When Pope Benedict met the Bishops, he outlined the essential elements of policies to protect children.

"In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected, and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes.

"This policy is what inspires me and the policies of the archdiocese of Dublin. This will not change. I have made discovery of all relevant documents and the commission is in possession of all documents including those in respect of which a claim of privilege has been made."

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