Tanaiste Calls on Brady to Resign over Abuse Inquiry

Irish Times
May 3, 2012

Cardinal Sean Brady: has insisted the issue is not a resigning matter.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore today called on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign following renewed allegations concerning his role in an inquiry into allegations of clerical abuse by the paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

Speaking in the Dail this morning, Mr Gilmore said he had always believed in the separation of church and State.

“It is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority,” he said.

The Tanaiste was replying to Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea, who said that every citizen had always had at least a moral obligation to report any abuse to the civil authorities.

Pressure is growing on the Catholic primate to resign following the broadcast of a BBC documentary shown on Tuesday night.

The BBC This World documentary - The Shame of the Catholic Church - disclosed how the church inquiry involving the then Fr John Brady was given the names and addresses of children who were abused by Smyth. This information was never passed on to the parents of the children or to the Garda.

Cardinal Brady yesterday criticised elements of the documentary and complained that it “deliberately exaggerated” his role as a member of a 1975 church inquiry team charged with establishing the accuracy of abuse allegations.

He said he would not be standing down over the issue but acknowledged: “I was part of an unhelpful culture of deference and silence in society, and the church, which thankfully is now a thing of the past.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said today the cardinal should consider his position, given the enormity and scale of the abuse perpetrated by Smyth. “I think Cardinal Brady should reflect on his position and consider his position, but that’s a matter obviously for the church,” said Mr Martin. “From my own perspective, I think his authority has been very seriously undermined with what has happened.”

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn also said he believed the cardinal should consider his position while

Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said he had urged the cardinal to consider his position in 2010 when questions about the inquiry first arose.

Today, a man abused by Smyth at the Nazareth Lodge children's home in Belfast in the years after the inquiry was held also joined the clamour of people calling on Dr Brady to resign.

Sam Adair also urged the cardinal to offer compensation to the priest's victims. "This Titanic embarrassment, humiliation and injustice to Catholic children has never, ever, ever been dealt with by the cardinal whatsoever. Maybe someone else could step into the breach here and take this situation and solve this situation," he said.

Mr Adair said there were inconsistencies in Dr Brady's retelling of the story, with the cardinal blaming firstly the Norbertine Order for not following up on the issue and then blaming his bishop. "The fact of the matter is that these children were abused and he knew about it," he said.

One of Ireland's best known priests Fr Brian D'Arcy said today he believed Cardinal Brady had wanted to resign two years ago when the allgegations surrounding his role in the inquiry first emerged.

He added that if he was in Dr Brady's position now he would likely step down but said that problems would remain in the Church whether the primate stayed or left.

"The bottom line is that if Cardinal Brady goes, the ordinary people of Ireland won't have a single vote on who replaces him. That is the problem," he said in an interview with Newstalk.

Brendan Boland, a then 14-year-old boy from Co Louth, told the Church inquiry in 1975 how he and others were abused by Smyth. The programme disclosed that Smyth continued to abuse two of the boys, one from Belfast and one from Cavan, after the inquiry. The sister of the Belfast boy and his four first cousins were also sexually abused by Smyth over several subsequent years.

Cardinal Brady, in an interview with The Irish Times yesterday, said that as a member of the three-member inquiry team he established the veracity of Mr Boland’s allegations and that that information was properly passed on to the bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan, and in turn handed over to the Rev Kevin Smith, former abbot of the Norbertine order, of which Smyth was a member.

Smyth’s superiors in the order bore “primary responsibility” for the failure to deal with the serial child sex abuser, he said.

Cardinal Brady claimed the BBC programme “has set out to deliberately exaggerate and misrepresent my role in these events”. It misrepresented his role by suggesting he was one of the investigators of the abuse when as a junior priest in 1975 he was the “stenographer of the meeting”.

He also claimed he was quoted out of context and that a statement made to the BBC by senior Vatican investigator Msgr Charles Scicluna exonerating him of culpability was not carried on the programme. The BBC said it stood by the programme and that it was accurate and impartial.

Yesterday, Msgr Scicluna said he was “sure” Cardinal Brady was fit to continue to lead the Irish Catholic Church, adding that he had “fulfilled his duty well” in the 1975 inquiry.

Amnesty in Northern Ireland called on the PSNI to investigate “the potential cover-up of criminal acts of child abuse”. The PSNI said it would study the programme but would make no further comment at this stage. The Garda had no comment.








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