Cowen defers to church over abuse report
Victims of clerical chid abuse have criticised the response of the Dublin government to revelations that three decades of abuse by paedophiles in the Dublin Archdiocese were covered up by the church hierarchy.
Hundreds of children were raped and subjected to unspeakable abuses by an apparent paedophile ring operating within the Catholic church in Dublin.
The Murphy report found that the institutions of the 26 County state, including the Garda police and the health authorities, also chose to ignore the crimes of the abusers. There are growing concerns that the paedophile ring extends into the highest echelons of the Dublin establishment.
In his statement, 26-County Taoiseach Brian Cowen described the findings of the report as “truly shocking and disturbing”, but added that it was up to the religious institutions and their members to determine the “appropriateness” of any individual to hold ecclesiastical office.
Since the report was published last Thursday, pressure has grown on a number of the Catholic bishops named in the report to resign.
Mr Andrew Madden, who in 1995 became the first person in Ireland to go public about his abuse by a priest, said the deference shown to bishops and priests by agencies of the State “is not at all over.”
“Given that Bishops Murray of Limerick, Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin, and Drennan of Galway are patrons of most of the schools in their Dioceses and have been found in the Murphy Report to have collectively put the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church and the preservation of its assets above the safety, welfare and protection of children, it is wholly inappropriate to say that it is a matter for themselves whether or not they continue to hold such office”, he said in his statement.
Sinn Fein Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said anyone found to have covered up the abuse of children should be arrested and face the full rigours of the law.
Ms. McDonald described the State’s child protection services as a “disgrace” and said the abuse of children continues today.
“The report on clerical sexual abuse of children in Dublin exposes how the most powerful men in the Catholic Church in the Dublin Diocese conspired to protect abusers of children. It was a gross betrayal of generations of children.
“It is especially damning that the State authorities facilitated the cover-up and allowed the Church to be beyond the reach of the law.
“Senior Gardai, up to and including the level of Commissioner, repeatedly turned a blind eye to crimes of clerical sexual abuse.
“Anyone, including Gardai, found to be complicit in the cover up of child abuse must be arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law.”