Audit of abuse claims and protection policies begins at Holy Ghost schools


AN AUDIT of known or alleged sexual abuse by members of the Holy Ghost (Spiritan) congregation and its child-safeguarding practices began this week.

The congregation runs some of the best-known schools in Ireland, including Blackrock College; St Mary’s, Templeogue; and St Michael’s in Dublin, as well as Rockwell College in Co Tipperary.

It said on its website that “only a public audit of the reality of abuse committed by Spiritans can free the congregation to carry out its mission of service among God’s people here in Ireland and overseas”.

To enable this to happen, and as is required before such an audit can take place, it invited in the church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC).

A former pupil of St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Mark V Healy, who was abused while a pupil there, has said he has established that as many as 12 Holy Ghost/Spiritan priests have been accused of abuse, whether in Ireland or Africa.

Last Friday, Mr Healy had a lengthy and “very helpful” meeting in Dublin with the papal legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

In March 2009, Fr Henry Maloney was convicted of abusing Mr Healy and another man, who died prematurely a short time ago, when both were pupils at St Mary’s between 1969 and 1973. Fr Maloney had previously been convicted of child abuse in 2000. He taught at St Mary’s between 1968 and 1973, after which he was transferred to Sierra Leone.

A second Holy Ghost/Spiritan priest accused by Mr Healy, Fr Arthur Carragher, died in Canada in January 2011. He taught at St Mary’s in 1969. In 2001, two brothers also made abuse allegations against Fr Carragher but as there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and Canada, where he then lived with the congregation, he successfully resisted being tried in Ireland.

The priest later admitted abusing the brothers.

Mr Healy said last night that he had asked the past pupils’ unions at all five Holy Ghost/Spiritan colleges in Ireland to publicise the audit into the congregation on their websites but that to date only those at St Mary’s and Rockwell had done so.

The audit into the congregation was announced last March, but a spokesman for them told The Irish Times yesterday that “the auditors were unavailable to commence the audit until this week, ie some weeks after it was initially expected to begin”.