Statement by Bishop John Magee

Roman Catholic Diocese of Cloyne
July 17, 2011

The Commission has found that the Diocese did not fully implement the procedures set out in Church protocols for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy. These failures were first brought to light by the Report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, which was published by the Diocese in 2008. I again sincerely apologise to all those who were abused by priests in the Diocese of Cloyne for my failure to ensure that they were fully supported and responded to in their time of need.

When the Church procedures were published in 1996, they were intended to be a new beginning for the Church in dealing with allegations and supporting complainants. While I was fully supportive of the procedures, I now realise that I should have taken a much firmer role in ensuring their implementation. I accept in its entirety the Commission's view that the primary responsibility for the failure to fully implement the Church procedures in the Diocese lay with me.

Given my position of responsibility, I am particularly saddened when I read the accounts of the complainants describing the effects of the abuse, knowing that I contributed to their distress. I have met some of the complainants personally and heard their stories. The people, who were so terribly abused by priests, found the courage to come forward to talk to me, or to my delegate, Msgr O' Callaghan who was representing me, and in many cases, we failed them. I am sorry that this happened and I unreservedly apologise to all those who suffered additional hurt because of the flawed implementation of the Church procedures, for which I take full responsibility.

I can only hope that the detailed work of the Commission and the National Board can now provide the new beginning that we all had hoped for in 1996.

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