Primate Urged Cardinal Connell to Drop Action

By Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
February 12, 2008

Cardinal Desmond Connell was visited in Dublin at the weekend by Catholic Primate Cardinal Seán Brady who encouraged him to drop his High Court action claiming privilege over documents before the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, The Irish Times has learned.

It is understood that Cardinal Brady pointed out the damage the action was doing where victims of clerical child sex abuse were concerned and to the Catholic Church itself.

In the High Court yesterday Roddy Horan, senior counsel for Cardinal Connell, withdrew the action initiated on January 31st when the cardinal sought judicial review over a commission decision to itself arbitrate on the status of 5,586 documents over which he claimed privilege.

The commission is investigating how the Dublin archdiocese handled allegations of clerical child abuse between January 1st, 1975, and May 1st, 2004.

The visit by Cardinal Brady is understood to have taken place last Saturday at the north Dublin city nursing home where Cardinal Connell is currently resident. He is recovering from a fractured pelvis received in a fall in Rome on January 29th last.

The disputed documents were among 66,583 submitted to the commission on January 15th last by Cardinal Connell's successor as Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin. This followed an order made on him by the commission on December 20th last.

Archbishop Martin also visited Cardinal Connell at the nursing home. In a brief statement following yesterday's events in the High Court, he welcomed the outcome and "the decision by Cardinal Connell to withdraw the proceedings initiated some days ago". He said the cardinal told him the decision not to proceed was his own.

"Since its inception, the archdiocese has refrained from making comments on the day to day work of the commission to allow it to carry out that important work. That basic policy remains unchanged".

He said "many victims and family members contacted me during this week. I wish to assure them, as well as priests and parish congregations, of my continued commitment to seeking the truth about the past.

"It is my hope that the common aim of all remains focused on ensuring that an accurate understanding of the truth concerning sexual abuse of children by clergy emerges," he said.


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