Brady Says Parents of Abused Children Should Have Been Told

By Kitty Holland and Patsy McGarry
Irish Times
May 8, 2012

THE CATHOLIC primate, Cardinal Seán Brady, has said parents of children he knew in 1975 had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth should have been told.

"I regret very much that they weren't, and obviously if we were in the same situation now we would insist they be informed," he said yesterday.

Were it now, he would make it "absolutely certain" that parents were informed.

"It would be a matter of insisting that somebody should do it because the parents have a right to know, and obviously the fact that they weren't informed was a great source of pain and further traumatisation to these children."

Cardinal Brady, who gave media interviews and issued a statement on the matter last Wednesday, told RTÉ in his first public comment since then he had not been "as keenly aware" in the 1970s of the need to inform parents and he "thought other people might have done it".

He felt let down that the church had not "curtailed and stopped" Smyth from abusing "but we are now where we are. We must concentrate on the present and make sure that such terrible events are never allowed to happen again".

He also publicly apologised to Brendan Boland, who was sexually abused by Smyth between 1973 and 1975. "I am sorry that I'm not doing it to him personally but I would like to do that at the earliest opportunity," he added.

It was Brendan Boland, then 14, who, at an interview in Dundalk on March 29th, 1975, gave the then Fr Brady and two other priests the names and addresses of five other children abused by Smyth.

Then Fr Brady spoke to a 15-year-old boy, one of those five, at the parochial house in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on April 4th, 1975. Neither that boy's parents or the parents of the other four children were informed of the abuse.

Yesterday Cardinal Brady said the parents of those other victims should have been told.

He reiterated, however, he would not be stepping down.

He said the BBC This World documentary broadcast last Tuesday, which uncovered further evidence of his role in internal 1975 church investigations into the activities of Smyth, had bought home to him "once more" the enormity of the damage done by child sexual abuse.

He had heard calls for his resignation, "but I've also had many, many calls from people who want me to stay, who are quite insistent that I should not change my position and that is my situation. I'm not changing my position."

He added he would like to have a coadjutor appointed this year, who would succeed him as archbishop.

"Remember two years ago I asked the Holy Father for additional episcopal help in the diocese of Armagh in the context that, when I came here 17 years ago, there were three of us, Cardinal Daly, Bishop Clifford and I.

"Bishop Clifford and I only remain now and we are 70 years old and the work has not diminished."


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