Dáil to hold Cloyne debate next week

Thu, Jul 14, 2011, 01:00

The Dáil is to debate the Cloyne report on the handling of clerical sex abuse next week.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the House today that it would be held on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

“The Government is quite happy to have it agreed by the whips and to make the necessary time available," he said. “I share, and the Government shares, the sense of outrage that there is about the findings of this report."

The report, said Mr Gilmore, was part of a sequence of similar reports. “What is involved here is a betrayal, a betrayal of trust, of the children first of all, who were abused, not supported, ignored, a betrayal of the trust Irish people and society, over a very long time, placed in particular in the Catholic Church and its institutions in all of their dealings with children,” he added.

Mr Gilmore said it was an issue the Government intended dealing with effectively.

Outlining legislative measures to be introduced, the Tánaiste said they would deal with the withholding of information, the setting up of a national vetting bureau and placing the revised children first national guidelines on a statutory basis.

Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Ó Cuív said there was a feeling of anger and disgust following the report. “There is no politician who can add to the testimony of the victims in this particular situation,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said the report represented another chapter in the sordid story of the violation of children and the sheltering of abused perpetrators by the church. “I think it needs to be recognised in this House that, to date, the State has failed children," she added.

Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party said Bishop John Magee, who was at the heart of the report, was also at the heart of the Vatican bureaucracy for so long. This, he added, went some way to explain “the Omerta-like code of silence” in protecting those abusing children at enormous expense to them and society.