News in a Nutshell: The Hussey Commission


MEDIA SCOPE: What is it? The Hussey Commission, or Catholic Church Commission on Child Sexual Abuse, was set up in June of this year to examine what was known by Roman Catholic bishops about complaints of child sexual abuse by priests and religious in the Republic of Ireland. The Commission was established by the Bishops' Conference and the Conference of Religious in Ireland.

Who is involved? The commission is chaired by retired judge Gillian Hussey. She retired last April, having served as a district judge for 18 years. Judge Hussey has set up an independent commission made up of a social worker, a barrister, a psychologist, a retired garda, a former senator, a childcare worker and a forensic scientist to investigate the church.

Who supports it? The Catholic Church is urging the public and the Government to give the commission a chance. They say that the commission is completely independent and that every relevant piece of evidence will be provided to it by the church authorities.

Who's against it? Victims of clerical sex abuse feel that the church should not be allowed to investigate itself and that the Government should set up an independent tribunal of inquiry to investigate the treatment of sex abuse victims by the church.

Why is it in the news? An RTÉ documentary, Cardinal Secrets, aired last month revealed how reports of sex abuse by priests had not been properly dealt with by their superiors, with the result that some individuals were moved to new jobs where they were working with children and where they were free to abuse again.