Friday 24 November 2017

Ruairi Quinn joins line of politicians calling for Cardinal Sean Brady to consider position

Fr Brian D'Arcy
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore

Independent.ie Business Desk and Press Association reporters

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has become the latest politician to call on Cardinal Sean Brady to consider his position, following allegations in a BBC documentary about a church inquiry into child abuse in the 1970s.

Earlier Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Fr Brian D’Arcy also commented on his position.

Mr Quinn said this stance was appropriate because Cardinal Brady is the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, which is the patron of 92pc of the 3,200 primary schools.

He said that the Catholic Church also should consider the appropriateness of having at its head someone who had ''failed spectacularly to protect children.''

As the Cardinal continued to face down calls to resign over his role in a secret inquiry into Brendan Smyth, Mr Gilmore said it was his opinion that senior clerics who did not act at the time should resign.

"It is my personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority," Mr Gilmore said.

And Taoiseach Enda Kenny re-iterated his stance that Cardinal Brady should “reflect” on the findings of the programme.

The beleaguered Cardinal Brady has vowed to remain as Primate of All-Ireland yesterday after being forced for a second time in three years to account for his role in a 1975 Church inquiry into Smyth's attacks on children.

A then 14-year-old boy told the cleric - then a teaching priest and canon lawyer and according to the Church drafted into the inquiry purely as a note-taker - told investigators that at least five children had been attacked.

The Cardinal claimed his role was to submit a report and blamed superiors in the Church for failing to stop the evil priest abusing over the next 20 years.

Cardinal Brady, who is due to retire in 2014, also swore teenager Brendan Boland to secrecy and the Church has since claimed this was for his protection and to prevent Smyth, who died in prison in 1997, from manipulating evidence.

The Tanaiste, who also holds the post of minister for foreign affairs, oversaw the decision to close down the Irish embassy in the Vatican last year.

That move was made as part of huge cost-cutting measures, the Government said.

Mr Gilmore stated he believed in the separation of Church and State.

Earlier in the day, Fr Brian D’Arcy, censored by the Church in his work as a journalist, said Cardinal Brady should reflect on his position in light of claims that he failed to protect children abused by notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

The popular priest, who writes a weekly column for the Sunday World, said he would find it hard to continue if he was in the position of the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Cardinal's spokesman responded to the deepening political criticism by repeating that the failure in 1975 was by Church superiors.

He also addressed fresh questions on the Cardinal's role in the internal inquiry and rejected claims that there was any discrepancy or contradiction over the Church's description of him as notary and the 2010 explanation which said he had been asked to conduct the investigation.

"The facts remain the same. He was not the person in charge of the inquiry," he said.

A statement from the Church in March 2010 said Cardinal Brady had been drafted in to conduct the investigation because he held a doctorate in canon law.

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