Bishop of Killaloe urges Cardinal Connell to issue statement on Murphy report


THE BISHOP of Killaloe Willie Walsh has called on Cardinal Desmond Connell to issue a statement following the fallout from the Murphy report. Also, two abuse survivors in Dublin have repeated their calls for the Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan to resign.

On November 26th, the day the Murphy report was published, Cardinal Connell released “a personal statement” noting that it had been “severely critical of the diocesan response (to abuse allegations), particularly in my earlier years in office”.

He expressed his “distress and bewilderment” that priests could behave in such a way. He also wished “to express without reservation my bitter regret that failures on my part contributed to the suffering of victims in any form” and apologised to those hurt and asked forgiveness. A note at the end of his statement stated: “Cardinal Connell has indicated he will not be making any further statements to media at this time.”

Last night on the RTÉ 1 television Spirit Levelprogramme, when asked by Joe Duffy if he felt Cardinal Connell should issue a statement following the fallout from the Murphy report, Bishop Walsh replied: “I would like to see Cardinal Connell issue a statement. I would like to see that, yes.”

He also said the accountability system for bishops “really has to be looked at. And not in that narrow sense we have been using it lately, with accountability almost equal to resignation.

“I think accountability is a much richer word. It’s about being responsible for, being answerable to, explaining why, and an individual accepting penalties appropriate to the seriousness of the failure,” he said. The present crisis was the product of a malfunctioning church, he said.

Last night also Dublin abuse survivors Marie Collins and Andrew Madden repeated their calls for Bishop Drennan of Galway to resign. Commenting on Bishop Drennan’s responses to questions posed by this newspaper Marie Collin said “we know Archbishop Connell had overall authority but Bishop Drennan didn’t stand up to that authority or the culture in place. He didn’t challenge either for the sake of children. I still think he should go.”

She said “he has said his position is different from the other four bishops who have offered their resignations. It was not. He was in exactly the same position as them. He didn’t challenge the culture, the cardinal, or his authority.”

She said Bishop Drennan’s staying on “would be retrograde for the church. If a bishop can ignore his responsibilities and refuse to be accountable, the church is not moving forward”.

Andrew Madden said that Bishop Drennan was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin for seven years of the period when the Murphy report said there had been a cover-up. “He was part of the system and he didn’t challenge it. His presence is an offence to anyone who was sexually abused in the Dublin archdiocese, and his continuing presence is to continue that offence.”