Government Will Not Publish Report into Sex Abuse Claims in Diocese

By Claire O’Sullivan
Irish Examiner
December 17, 2008 ireland-qqqm=ireland-qqqa=ireland-qqqid=80266-qqqx=1.asp

THE Government is not going to publish a report into the mishandling of child sex abuse claims in a Cork diocese, Minister for Children Barry Andrews has confirmed.

Mr Andrews was given the report five months ago and has been under sustained pressure from child abuse campaigners to publish its findings. The report investigated the handling of allegations of abuse in Cloyne made to the Catholic Church between 15 and 20 years ago.

Mr Andrews said neither the department nor the Government commissioned the report and responsibility for publication of the potentially explosive report lay "elsewhere".

In response to a Dáil question, he said "there was no commitment to lay the report before the Houses of the Oireachtas". It is understood the report has not been given to the gardaí.

However, the Diocese of Cloyne and the author of the report — the Church's National Board for Safe- guarding Children (NBSC) — have challenged the minister, saying the report was initiated by the Department of Health and Children.

It is understood a number of abuse victims met with current Finance Minister Brian Lenihan when he was the children's minister and following that meeting, the report was commissioned.

Fr Killeen, a spokesman for the Cloyne diocese — which is overseen by Bishop John Magee — last night reiterated that the diocese did not commission the report.

When asked if he wanted to see the report published, he said: "The decision to publish it is not ours. We didn't commission it. My understanding is that the report was requested after representations were made to a minister for health by two individuals."

Chief executive of the NBSC Ian Elliott said the investigation and report were carried out following an "alert" by the Department of Health.

The report has been seen by the Diocese of Cloyne, which has accepted its findings and begun to implement recommendations.

The HSE also has a copy of the report and is formulating a second report based on the original NBSC findings, which will be issued to the minister by the end of the year, said a spokesperson.

Youghal priest Fr Joseph McGuane, who is calling for the publication of the report, said: "It hangs like a sword around the neck of the diocese."

East Cork Labour TD Sean Sherlock has accused the Government of "washing its hands" of the matter.

"Why is the minister abdicating his responsibility? A former minister asked for this report to be carried out after speaking to victims. The victims involved want natural justice and don't want to see clerical sex abuse brushed under the carpet. Has the Irish state learnt anything from Ferns?"

One in Four chief executive Maeve Lewis said: "It is vital following the Ferns inquiry that such reports are made public if people are to feel confident in the Catholic Church's handling of such issues."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.