Huge pressure on Cardinal to resign
Huge pressure on Cardinal to resign

Political leaders from across the party spectrum have called on Cardinal Sean Brady to consider his position following allegations that he failed to pass on information about the activities of notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

Senior figures, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the leaders of all the major parties, have responded to the disclosures in a BBC documentary by raising questions as to the cardinal’s tenability as Primate of All Ireland.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said this morning Dr Brady should reflect on his position because “it is not really sustainable”. Speaking on state radio, Ms Burton said the church had a responsibility and that Dr Brady also had a “personal responsibility” in terms of his leadership role in the church.

Speaking on the same programme, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was her personal view that Dr Brady’s position was “not tenable”.

The BBC This World documentary, ‘The Shame of the Catholic Church’, disclosed how a church inquiry in 1975 involving Dr Brady, then a priest, was given the names and addresses of children who Smyth abused. This information was never given to the children’s parents, police or social workers.

Although similar allegations have been made against Brady before, damning details emerged of the disturbing questioning by the church inquiry of one of Smyth’s victims, Brendan Boland. Boland said he was attempting to prevent Smyth from raping other children by naming other potential victims when he was asked by the clergymen, as a fourteen year old, if he had “enjoyed” his experience with Smyth, and “if not, why not”.

The cardinal claimed he had played a relatively minor role in the inquiry, which failed to alert the authorities and allowed Smyth to continue abusing the named children. However, the broadcast of the documentary by the BBC caused a wave of anger against the Irish Catholic church in both Ireland and Britain.

Responding to the BBC programme, Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness said that he had called on Cardinal Brady to consider his position two years ago, when the allegations first surfaced.

“I think that many Catholics, of which I am one, Catholic priests amongst whom I have many good friends and the public in general will be dismayed at these new allegations.

“Ultimately Cardinal Brady’s response is a matter for himself and the Church, but it is a very grave situation for survivors of abuse, for the Catholic Church and for Catholics across Ireland.

“Cardinal Brady has responded to calls for his resignation by saying he will continue on as leader of Ireland’s Catholics.

“Speaking personally I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.”

The Tanaiste said it was the State’s job to enact laws and to ensure those laws applied to everybody, whether they belonged to a church or not. “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,” Mr Gilmore told the Dail.

The Taoiseach stopped short of calling for Dr Brady to consider his position. He said, however, that the cardinal should “reflect” on the outcome of the programme.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2012 Irish Republican News