Martin refuses to call for cardinal's resignation


Clerical sex abuse:THE ARCHBISHOP of Dublin has refused to call for Cardinal Seán Brady to resign over his role in canonical investigations in 1975 in which victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth were asked to swear an oath of secrecy.

Dr Diarmuid Martin last night asked for accountability instead.

“I never tell people to resign. I never said people should stay. I ask for accountability. Resigning is a personal decision a person has to make on their own.”

He was speaking before attending an ecumenical service at City Quay Church in Dublin.

“People should be accountable, and render account of what they’ve done. Resignations are personal decisions,” he said.

Fr Smyth “was not stopped by who had the power to stop him” and “somebody should have stopped him” he said, when asked whether it was acceptable that Cardinal Brady did not stop Fr Smyth after the 1975 investigation.

Fr Smyth should have been stopped “from the first time it was known that he abused. I don’t know when that was,” he said.

“But how a person would have abused and continued to abuse for so long – 18 years after, and God knows how many years before,” he said.

Archbishop Martin said he did not have enough details to say whether or not Cardinal Brady should have reported the abuse to the Garda. “That’s up to him to explain,” he said.

When asked his view on the oath of secrecy taken by the children in 1975, he said “the question of secrecy is a complicated one”.

The archbishop denied he had been recently silenced by the church. “No, I haven’t been asked to stop talking. I gave four major interviews in the last four weeks to Irish and international television,” he said. He had not been ostracised by other members of the church. “I do things in my own way, which may not please everybody, but in no way was I ostracised. I have to maintain also my own independence of thought.”

The archbishop confirmed that he had not learned of Cardinal Brady’s involvement in the Smyth case until the weekend.

“One of the difficulties is, we have to find a way in which information gets out from everybody. And everybody gets the information out in the same way and understands it in the same way.”

Archbishop Martin had spoken to Cardinal Brady by phone, but would not go into detail of the conversation. He had “not had time” to contact the pope or papal nuncio regarding the matter.

“What I am trying to do above all is I am listening to what people are saying in the parishes.”

He emphasised the importance of the truth coming out, and there would be no healing until this happened. “People want the entire truth to come out. I do not believe that extending the Murphy commission to every diocese in Ireland would be the best way to use money for child protection. But it may be the only way. Something like this may be necessary if we cannot get a way of ensuring the truth is out and people know that the truth is out,” he said.

It was important that no more time is wasted on further audits that “don’t let people know the truth”, he said.