Bishops say newspaper reported story in 1997


CANONICAL INQUIRY:THE IRISH Bishops’ Conference yesterday distributed a press release drawing attention to an article published 13 years ago, in which the current controversy surrounding Cardinal Seán Brady was first reported.

The story, which appeared in the London edition of the Sunday Mirror on August 10th, 1997, ran under the headline Archbishop Brady knew about evil Smyth for 22 years; The story that will shock Ireland.

The opening line of the article, by journalist Declan White, reported that archbishop Seán Brady, helped investigate “sex abuse monster” Fr Brendan Smyth.

“He was part of a secret tribunal which failed to notify the police after an altar boy told how pervert priest Smyth had abused him,” it said. It went on to mention one child who Cardinal Brady interviewed about allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by Smyth in 1975, quoting the man, who they reported lived in England at the time of publication:

“He claims the tribunal told him that such abuse would never happen again and that the church ‘would sort things out’.”

While the article referred to the meeting as a “secret tribunal” there was no specific mention of the oath of secrecy, which it later transpired that two children were required to take.

A spokesman from the Catholic Communications Office said last night that there had been suggestions that the story had been covered up but this was not the case.

“There were questions in the media as to why this issue hadn’t been addressed heretofore ... just to demonstrate that this is not a new story. It was reported in the 1990s.”