Tuesday 22 October 2019

President calls for debate on moral fallout

Caitriona Palmer in Massachusetts

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese yesterday called for a major public debate on the legal and moral consequences arising from the Ryan Report on clerical abuse.

The President said that the commission's findings on decades of emotional, physical and sexual abuse only raised more questions about the consequences for those responsible.

"This report opens up -- it doesn't close. It opens them up for a massive public debate," said Mrs McAleese. "And in particular, a debate that should focus the attention at those to whom the finger points to in the Ryan Report."

The President also said that the publication of the report should not end discussion about how the State should help those who suffered at the hands of the religious orders.

"Some people seem to think that the Ryan report was designed to bring closure. I don't know where they got that idea from. The opposite is the case," she said.

Although the President refused to comment on whether the religious orders should provide more money to compensate the victims, she said that there was a "huge moral responsibility" to ask whether enough was been done to make amends.

The President made her comments while on an official visit to the US.

Mrs McAleese was also honoured yesterday at a special lunch hosted by Congressman Richard Neal, a Democrat.

Later in the day the President laid a wreath at a Celtic cross in Worcester to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Irish settlement in the city.

She then travelled to Boston where she will meet with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

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