Abuse Inquiry Criticism No Resigning Matter - Brady

By Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor And Charlie Taylor
Irish Times
May 3, 2012

THE CATHOLIC primate, Cardinal Sean Brady, has said he is not contemplating resignation as a result of criticisms over how he handled sex abuse allegations against the paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

He said he would not stand down as primate following a BBC documentary that revealed how, in 1975, when he was a priest in the diocese of Kilmore, he was given the names and addresses of children who were abused by the serial child sex abuser Smyth.

This information, received from a Co Louth boy, Brendan Boland, who had been abused by Smyth, was not passed on to the parents of these children or to the Garda or police in the North.

Cardinal Brady, in an interview with The Irish Times yesterday and in comments to RTE, said he would not be resigning despite calls from a number of victims of abuse for him to stand down.

He said he had accepted the allegations made in 1975 by victims such as Mr Boland, who featured in the BBC documentary, and that he had taken steps to corroborate his allegations. “I took on board what he said and I did what I thought was most effective in stopping this terrible abuse by referring it to the man who had the power to curb the movements of Brendan Smyth, namely the abbot of Kilnacrott,” he said.

The information was provided by Mr Boland when he was 14 to a three-member church canonical inquiry of which Cardinal Brady, then Fr John Brady, was a member. The BBC programme detailed how two of these boys continued to be abused by Smyth after the inquiry was concluded and its findings passed on to the late bishop of Kilmore, Francis McKiernan, and in turn to the Rev Kevin Smith, former abbot of the Norbertine Order, of which Smyth was a member.

Moreover, the sister of one of the boys, who is from Belfast, and four of his first cousins were subsequently, and for several years, sexually abused by Smyth.

Cardinal Brady said his function on the three-member inquiry team was to take notes. He believed the information provided to the bishop of Kilmore would be properly acted upon. He allowed, however, that there was a culture of priestly subservience to more senior church figures at the time.

“I was in a culture of deference and maybe unhelpful silence and did not raise the matter again, but that was out of respect for confidentiality and the seriousness with which I took that. But I honestly believed that it would be dealt with,” he added.

The Catholic primate accepted that some of the intimate questioning that Mr Boland was subjected to in 1975 by the inquiry team was wrong. “I am sure they would not be asked that way [now]. You see we were without any guidance at that stage from either church or state. We were without training; it was a new situation.”

He said he had been “devastated” when he was later informed that Smyth went on to abuse the Belfast boy, his sister and his cousins for a number of years after the inquiry. “I never doubted that it wouldn’t be followed through. I was so sure there would be effective action,” he said.

Cardinal Brady said he had considered stepping down in the wake of the revelations about his role in the inquiry. However, he added that he felt he had done what was expected to the best of his abilities and that it “was not a resigning matter”. Asked if he thought he could still do good by staying on, he replied, “Everyone can do good, yes, I hope so.”








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