Diocese of Ferns lauds Bishop Walsh


DUBLIN AUXILIARY Bishop Éamonn Walsh has been praised by the Diocese of Ferns where he was apostolic administrator from 2002 to 2006. Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan said: “The diocese respects the decision of Bishop Éamonn Walsh to tender his resignation as auxiliary Bishop of Dublin.”

The Murphy report had “been the occasion for reliving the pain and harm that was brought to light . . . and for remembering all who suffered at the hands of some of our priests”, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan said Bishop Drennan’s intended to respond to questions put to him by this newspaper yesterday. These concerned the extent of the bishop’s knowledge or otherwise, during his tenure as auxiliary bishop of Dublin between 1997 and 2005, of the handling of child sex abuse allegations made against, and admitted, by the late Fr Noel Reynolds.

The questions asked were: “Was he aware of information available to the archdiocese about Fr Reynolds while he was chaplain at the National Rehabilitation Institute in Dún Laoghaire up to July 1998 and which was located within his area of the archdiocese? If so, did he do anything about this?

“Was he aware of the allegations of the abuse of ‘Martha’ and ‘Mary’ made by their mother in February and November 1998? If so, did he do anything about these?

“Was he aware of the meeting attended by priests of his own area of the archdiocese in 1999 concerning Fr Reynolds? If so, did he do anything relevant following that meeting?

“Was he aware of the legal stance adopted by the archdiocese against Martha and Mary after they initiated legal action in 2001? If so, did he do anything about it?”

Meanwhile, Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery has said he doesn’t think “that whether bishops resign, or don’t, matters”.

He also said yesterday that he didn’t “believe Diarmuid Martin or The Irish Timeswill bring about any radical change in anything”. He felt “the notion of collective responsibility was an interesting concept in understanding how the Dublin Archdiocese operated”.

In a letter in the Irish Independenton Tuesday – it was not sent to this newspaper – Fr Flannery described as “unique in the recent history of the Catholic Church” what he described as the introduction by Archbishop Martin of “the notion of collective authority and, as a consequence, collective responsibility, for the failures of the time”.

He said: “Collective responsibility is an idea taken from the secular not the religious world. It is associated with democracy, and with the workings of a democratic government.”

His understanding “was that auxiliary bishops, particularly in Dublin, had little or no say over policy and decision making”. In that context he felt “the notion of collective responsibility surely cannot apply”.