Cloyne chapter set to be published


Chapter nine of the Cloyne report, which was cleared for publication in the High Court this morning, will not be published until Monday to allow counselling services prepare to assist callers who may be upset by its findings.

Earlier today, the Department of Justice had indicated that it would be published this afternoon but a spokesman has now said it is being delayed as the Minister Alan Shatter was anxious that counselling services be in place first.

Much of the chapter is already in the public domain, but parts of it were redacted by High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns when the Cloyne report was published on July 13th last.

He did so as court proceedings were then pending against ‘Fr Ronat’, the priest against whom complaints are dealt with in the chapter. It was feared that full publication of the chapter might be deemed prejudicial to the outcome of those proceedings, which are now completed.

Mr Justice Kearns cleared the redacted parts of the chapter for publication at a brief hearing in the High Court this morning.

At 42 pages, the chapter  is the longest in the Cloyne report.

The Murphy Commission concluded that the way complaints against Fr Ronat were dealt with there “clearly illustrates the failure of the diocese of Cloyne to deal properly with allegations of child sexual abuse up to the year 2008”.

Failures in the handling of complaints against Fr Ronat rested “mainly on Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan, the report said. "However, at least three priests of the diocese appear to have ignored complaints. Bishop Magee mainly left the handling of complaints to Monsignor O’Callaghan and did not exercise his authority over Fr Ronat in any effective way,” it added.

Dr Magee resigned as Bishop of Cloyne in March 2010, while Msgr O’Callaghan had been vicar general in the diocese and its delegate on child protection matters.

According to chapter nine, complaints made to the diocese about Fr Ronat were not reported to the Garda when they should have been. They were not reported to the health board or HSE by the diocese until 2008.

The report found there were no proper Church investigations of the complaints. A canonical process ordered where Fr Ronat was concerned in 1995 “was effectively stalled for 14 years and does not seem to have been completed”.

The commission “does not accept that there was any real restriction on his (Fr Ronat’s) ministry”, it said.

It said when the priest was finally removed from ministry, he continued to wear clerical dress. "This meant that, again, there was no public knowledge of his real situation," it asdded.

According to chapter nine,  there was “no evidence" that the HSE made any inquiries about Fr Ronat when notified by gardaí of a complaint against him in March 2005/

It also found that a statement to gardaí by one complainant “seems to have been put in a drawer and forgotten about until raised by this investigation” and that complainants were “deeply unhappy” with the DPP’s handling of allegations against Fr Ronat.