Bishops issue statements on contents of abuse report

Sun, Nov 29, 2009, 00:00

Senior clergy have spoken about the contents of the Murphy Report at Masses across the country.

Dr Dónal Murray, Bishop of Limerick, who was criticised in the report for his handling of abuse cases while he was auxilliary bishop in Dublin, said his resignation is a question of whether his presence "is a help or a hindrance to the diocese of Limerick."

Addressing calls for his resignation, Dr Murray, who served in Dublin from 1982 to 1996,  told the congregation at St Joseph's Church in Limerick today that he would "be guided by the priests and people of the diocese."

Dr Murray's handling of one case in particular drew criticism in the report. It said his handling of the case was "inexcusable" and added that he had "handled a number of complaints and suspicions badly".

In today's prepared statement, Dr Murray said "if there are cases where the abuse of children might have been prevented had I acted differently, I offer to them my sincerest apology."

He said that in "the one such case that I can think of, my inability to get to the full truth was not the result of any lack of effort on my part, but a lack of skill and experience."

Dr Murray said that "At no time, however, did I receive an allegation of sexual abuse and fail to take it seriously; at no time did I engage in an attempt to cover up."

The Bishop of Down and Conner issued a pastoral reflection on the contents of the report.

Bishop Noel Traenor expresses his "horror and distress" on behalf of his assistant bishop and priests on the findings of the commission into child abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The statement is to be read at all masses in the diocese today.

The letter describes the abuse recorded in the report as "heinous and appaling crimes against children".

Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, Minister Barry Andrews said he "would be amazed if there aren't consequences" for those against whom adverse findings were found in the report.