Tánaiste calls on Cardinal Brady to resign

Fri, May 4, 2012, 01:00

THE TÁNAISTE has called on Cardinal Seán Brady to resign and said the rape or abuse of a child was a crime in the past as it was now.

Eamon Gilmore said that he had always believed in the separation of church and State.

“It is the job of the Government and the State to enact our laws and ensure they apply to everybody, whether they belong to a church.

“But it is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority.”

Mr Gilmore said what was reported in a BBC documentary was “another horrific episode in the failure of senior figures in the Catholic Church to protect children and report the abuse and rape of children”.

He added: “The rape and abuse of a child is a crime, and it was a crime then. The place for crimes to be investigated, prosecuted and dealt with is in the courts and by the Garda.”

Mr Gilmore said he did not believe there was a parallel system of law which dealt with those matters. “Anybody who has or had knowledge about the rape or abuse of a child has or had a duty to report it to the authorities.”

Mr Gilmore said that whatever might be said about it occurring in 1975, whatever number of years ago and in whatever context, there had been plenty of opportunities since for the information on the abuse and rape of those children to be brought to the attention of the Garda.

Mr Gilmore said the Government was putting in place much stronger rules and regulations in respect of responsibility to children. There would be a statutory obligation on organisations and named individuals to report information on abuse or significant neglect to the HSE. Withholding information on sexual abuse would be deemed a criminal offence.

The Tánaiste was replying to Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea, who said the documentary represented “another shocking chapter in a sad litany of which we are only too well aware from reading reports such as the Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports”.

He said the Tánaiste’s forthright reply contrasted starkly with the Taoiseach’s reaction when he was asked about the issue on Wednesday.

Mr O’Dea said while Mr Kenny had made a speech in the Dáil last July, which had been widely lauded, he had refused to take the same position of the Tánaiste in the aftermath of the documentary. It was easy to look brave in the abstract.

Mr Gilmore said there should be no doubt in anybody’s mind about where the Taoiseach stood on the issue. Mr O’Dea should not attempt to turn a serious issue into some kind of “political whack at the Taoiseach”.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said she welcomed “the clarity and forthrightness” of the Tánaiste’s response.