Bishop warns against seeking 'head on a plate'


BISHOP MURRAY CONTROVERSY:BISHOP OF Killaloe Willie Walsh, has said calls for the resignation of Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray were based on a “gross misreading” of the Dublin diocesan report and warned against a desire “to get a head on a plate”.

Asked on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Irelandyesterday whether a bishop criticised in the report should consider resigning, Bishop Walsh said: “Yes, if it is true.”

He said: “But I do know at the moment there has been a gross misreading of the Dublin report in relation to Bishop Murray and there has been a very serious misreading of that. I appeal to people to, if they’re going to speak on that issue, to study very carefully exactly the terms of the Dublin report.”

He said he was “quite uncomfortable with this kind of public trial. I’d have to ask, is it about healing for survivors or is it about the desire that we need to get a head on a plate?” He hadn’t had time to examine the report in detail “but I do know, I do know for a fact, some of the interpretation put on that and being placed against Bishop Murray is a misreading of the report. I do know that from somebody who has read in detail the report and I am satisfied with that.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Bishop Walsh acted as a mediator in Limerick diocese in 2006 when a man who alleged clerical abuse took his own life two days after a meeting with representatives of the diocese. Peter McCloskey was 37 when he died on April 1st, 2006.

Mr McCloskey alleged he had been abused in 1980 and 1981 by Fr Denis Daly, a priest of the archdiocese of Sydney, then ministering in Limerick. In 2002, Mr McCloskey revealed his abuse to church authorities in Limerick. He wanted to know whether the diocese had reason to suspect Fr Daly (who died in 1987) might have been a danger to children.

The diocese discovered in 2003 that there was an extensive file on Fr Daly in Sydney. Included was a reference to the local police insisting he leave the territory for what was described as a “moral lapse”. This information was not passed to Mr McCloskey. Instead he was told the following year by the the child protection office of the Bishops’ Conference in Maynooth that they had no information on Fr Daly. When Mr McCloskey announced he was going to Sydney to investigate, diocesan officials agreed to a meet him.

According to those close to the case, he was told Bishop Murray had no legal liability; that any attempt to make the bishop responsible was unjust; that any proceedings would be struck out; and that he would be held liable for the diocese’s legal costs.

He was called a liar, told he suffered from false memory syndrome, and threatened. On April 23rd, 2006, following a meeting chaired by Bishop Willie Walsh and attended by Bishop Murray as well as the McCloskey family, Bishop Murray acknowledged that he “completely accepts the truth” of Peter McCloskey’s experience of clerical child sexual abuse.