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Watchdog is told of new abuse suspicion against two priests

A Church body for safeguarding children has been notified of new suspicions of abuse about two priests.

The Child Safeguarding and Protection Service (CSPS) for the Dublin Diocese said the complaints were received over the past year, about two priests who were not previously the subject of complaints. One of priests is now deceased, while the other is not in ministry.

Within child safeguarding there are different categorisations of information with different thresholds. A suspicion is considered to be at the lower end of the spectrum and could, for example, constitute third hand information. All suspicions or allegations are reported to the gardai and HSE.

It also emerged that the Diocese of Dublin has paid out another €1.5m in abuse settlements and legal costs over the past year. Settlement costs for child sexual abuse by priests in Dublin have so far cost €17.9m.

In 2009, the Murphy Report revealed a litany of abuse and cover-up in Dublin and the diocese is still receiving information on abuse by priests who were serial abusers of children, all of whom are already known to the gardai and the CSPS.

STATIC

Aside from the suspicions reported about two priests, and those priests already the subject of a complaint, the CSPS said that no more allegations of child abuse had been reported in the past 12 months.

That means the total number of priests against whom an allegation of child sexual abuse has been recorded remains at 98.

The figure covers a period going back more than 70 years.

It is the first time in eight years that the figure has remained static since the diocese began publishing annual updates on safeguarding.

In a statement, the director for Child Safeguarding and Protection in Dublin, Andrew Fagan, warned that while there had been a fall off in the number of allegations, this must not lead to complacency.

"We continue to monitor those who could pose a risk to children and we must remain steadfast and focused on safeguarding to ensure that the risk to children participating in church life is minimal," he said.

The report also shows that 216 civil actions have been taken against 49 priests and former priests who have served in Dublin – of which 161 have concluded and 55 are ongoing.

Eleven priests or former priests who served in Dublin have been convicted in the criminal courts.

Irish Independent