TWO CHILD sex abuse complaints against former Catholic archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, as well as a separate “concern”, were brought to the attention of the Murphy commission, which investigated the handling of clerical child sex abuse complaints in the Dublin archdiocese.
One complaint alleges abuse of a 12-year-old boy by Archbishop McQuaid in 1961.
The complaints and concern were addressed in a “Supplementary Report to the Dublin Archdiocese Investigation”, published on the commission’s website on July 13th, the day it published the Cloyne report.
Archbishop McQuaid is not identified by name in the supplementary report but is described as a cleric who “has been dead for many years”. He retired in 1972 and died in 1973.
The Irish Timeshas established that the cleric referred to in the report is Archbishop McQuaid.
The Murphy commission report into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Dublin archdiocese was published in November 2009. The supplementary report records that in June/July 2009, as the commission was completing its main report, it received information which would have “brought another cleric” within its remit. It was concerned that this may have been withheld deliberately and felt this required investigation.
The complaint concerned an adult who, in January 2003, complained to the Eastern Health Board that he had been abused by Archbishop McQuaid, and was not made known to the commission when the Health Service Executive discovered documents relating to it.
In May 2009 this complaint was made known to Phil Garland, then director of child protection in Dublin’s archdiocese. He informed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the commission was “immediately informed”, the report says. The HSE subsequently supplied relevant documentation to the commission.
The archdiocese then organised a further trawl of its files and found a letter “which showed that there was an awareness among a number of people in the archdiocese that there had been a concern expressed about this cleric in 1999”, the report states. The “cleric” is Archbishop McQuaid.
This letter was passed to the commission, in July 2009, by which time its report was almost complete.
After an investigation into the HSE’s failure to hand over the 2003 documentation in discovery, the commission was “satisfied that this was due to human error”.
It also examined the awareness within the Dublin archdiocese of a “concern” about Archbishop McQuaid. It found the archdiocese had no knowledge of the source of the concern, or its details.
Then in 2010, after the commission’s report had been published, Archbishop Martin told it he had received another abuse complaint against Archbishop McQuaid.
The supplementary report said “Archbishop Martin was under no obligation to give the commission this information”. It was now a matter for the archdiocese “to investigate all complaints against this cleric,” it said. The 2010 complaint is the subject of a civil action against the archdiocese.
Responding to questions from The Irish Times, the archdiocese said it treated information regarding abuse in a confidential manner, "out of respect to all involved". Matters which were the subject of the supplementary report were now under investigation by the Garda, it said.
A HSE spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to comment further than what was already in the supplementary report.