Connell gives Garda access to Church sex abuse files


The Garda are to be given unprecedented access to Catholic Church records in Dublin by the Archbishop of the diocese, Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Following a five-hour meeting involving the Cardinal, Bishop Eamonn Walsh and two victims of clerical sexual abuse, the Dublin Diocesan press office released a statement in which it recognised "the need to provide more information based on fact and truth".

"The Archdiocese of Dublin is co-operating fully with the Gardaí in their investigation. Cardinal Connell has agreed to give the gardaí access to the diocesan files concerning complaints of child sexual abuse against diocesan priests. It is understood that the Gardaí will commence reading the files in early January."

A protest calling for Dr Connell's resignation had been planned by victims, two of whom, Mr Ken Reilly and Ms Marie Collins met with Dr Connell today. After the meeting, they announced they had withdrawn their threat of a silent protest on January 5th and their call for the Cardinal's resignation as Archbishop of Dublin.

Following today's meeting a joint statement was issued by Ms Collins, Mr Reilly, Cardinal Connell and Bishop Walsh:

"Our common and over-riding purpose is the protection of all children from sexual abuse. We will work together to develop, improve and expand existing practices.

The Cardinal reiterated his conviction that no priest who had sexually abused a child should be trusted again in any parish or ministry involving children."

The Cardinal also invited Ms Collins and Mr Reilly to meet Mr David Kennedy, the Chairman of the independent advisory panel working on the establishment of the Child Protection Service in the Dublin Diocese.