Ahern urged to apologise to former Brother

 

Two Government members called on the Taoiseach to apologise to Mr Paul Farrell, the former Christian Brother, whose conviction for indecently assaulting a teenage boy in a Galway institution was reversed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Mr Tom Morrissey (PD) said Mr Farrell had been convicted on the flimsiest of evidence, and the judge had been found to have erred in three matters of fact.

The Cathaoirleach, Mr Kiely, intervened to say that the judiciary was independent, and its rulings could not be discussed.

Mr Morrissey said that some years ago the Taoiseach had made a full apology to the victims of institutional abuse in this country. This case was an example of similar institutional abuse of a former Christian Brother.

He requested that the leader of the House, Ms O'Rourke, consider asking the Taoiseach if he would make an apology to people who had been similarly abused by the institutions of this State.

Mr Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said Mr Farrell was an innocent man now, but, as he had said himself, his life had been ruined. He agreed with Mr Morrissey that an apology by the Taoiseach would be important.

"The only hope we have of saving the good names of these people is that it comes from the highest voice in the land," he said.

Dr Maurice Hayes (Ind) said he had enormous regard for the work that religious orders had done. At the same time, he did not think it right to say that the Taoiseach should apologise personally for every time a case was overturned on appeal.