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Brady should have stopped Smyth abuse, says Martin

CARDINAL Sean Brady should have stopped paedophile priest Brendan Smyth's "appalling" abuse, according to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

The highly critical comments have put the cardinal under renewed pressure today after Ireland's second most senior Catholic churchman said paedophile priest Brendan Smyth should have been stopped the first time it was known he was abusing children.

Dr Martin admitted for the first time that a nationwide investigation into clerical sex abuse may be the only way to get to the truth.

His remarks intensified pressure on the cardinal, who has refused to resign after it emerged he gathered evidence into allegations of child sex abuse by serial sex offender Fr Smyth 35 years ago, involving two young people, without reporting the allegations to the civil authorities.

Dr Martin said he would not be calling for the resignation of Cardinal Brady, as resignation was a personal decision.

It was "absolutely appalling" that Fr Smyth was abusing children for 30 or 40 years, he said.

"Brendan Smyth should have been stopped from the very first time he abused a child," he said.

Dr Martin said it was very important that the truth came out about clerical sex abuse.

People wanted the truth, but he said he did not believe that extending the Murphy Commission to each diocese would be the best way to use money for child protection, but added that it may be the only way.

"It may be necessary if we cannot get a way of ensuring that the truth is out and people know that the truth is out. People want to know exactly what happened. I believe there will be no healing until we fully address the past," he said.

"Time bombs by their definition are going to explode," he said. "It is better to defuse them by letting the truth come out."

Victims' groups renewed their call for Cardinal Brady to resign.

Voice of the Faithful, a lay organisation of Catholics, questioned how the cardinal believed he could now provide the leadership that was needed to draw a line under all that had happened.

The group said it could not understand why Cardinal Brady believed he should not resign after his own statement in December in which he said he would do so if he thought any failure of his to act had caused a child to suffer.

Cardinal Brady has already rejected claims that he failed to act in 1975 when two young victims of Fr Smyth were asked to sign an oath of secrecy.

The cardinal said he was not the designated person responsible for contacting the relevant statutory authorities.

In a statement, the Catholic Communications Office issued further details of the 1975 investigation into Fr Smyth, saying: "On 29 March, 1975, Fr Brady and two other priests interviewed a boy (14) in Dundalk.


"Fr Brady's role was to take notes. On 4 April, 1975, Fr Brady interviewed a second boy (15) in the Parochial House in Ballyjamesduff.

"On this occasion, Fr Brady conducted the inquiry by himself and took notes."

The office said the intention of the oath taken by the two young people at the end of the inquiry "was to avoid potential collusion in the gathering of the inquiry's evidence and to ensure that the process was robust enough to withstand challenge by the perpetrator, Fr Brendan Smyth."

On April 12, 1975, Bishop McKiernan reported the findings to the Abbot of Kilnacrott.

"The specific responsibility for the supervision of Fr Smyth's activities, was, at all times, with his religious superiors. Bishop McKiernan withdrew Brendan Smyth's priestly faculties and advised psychiatric intervention," the statement said.

Until yesterday, it was understood that the 1975 inquiries involved a boy and a girl and that it was the latter who had taken the High Court proceedings which led to the revelations.

Cardinal Brady did not attend a Confirmation ceremony in Dundalk yesterday.