Dublin abuse report to be released

 

The report into how allegations of child sex abuse by priests in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin were dealt with by the State and church authorities is expected to be published by the Government late next week.

The report is likely to be discussed by the Cabinet on Tuesday after the High Court ruled yesterday that most of it can be published.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan excluded from publication, at least until May 5th next, one chapter relating to a particular priest on grounds it could prejudice criminal proceedings against that cleric. He also directed that some 21 references to the same individual in other parts of the report should also not be published for now.

The Commission of Investigation, Dublin Archdiocese, chaired by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy and assisted by barrister Ita Mangan and solicitor Hugh O’Neill, began its inquiry in March 2006.

It investigated how allegations of child sex abuse against a sample of 46 priests were handled by State and church authorities in the Dublin archdiocese between January 1975 and April 2004, when Cardinal Desmond Connell retired as archbishop.

The commission presented its report to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern last July. On the advice of Attorney General Paul Gallagher, he sent it to the High Court.

Under the Commission of Investigation Act, 2004, the Minister for Justice must seek direction from the High Court before publishing a commission report which it is believed could prejudice criminal proceedings.

It is believed that at least four of the priests investigated by the Dublin commission face abuse charges, though it is understood that yesterday’s High Court decisions concern just one man. His trial is scheduled for April 2010.

At private hearings on October 1st and 2nd last, Mr Justice Gilligan heard submissions on the report from the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions and representatives of those against whom criminal proceedings are pending. He heard further submissions yesterday before delivering his written judgment, publicly, in the afternoon.

His ruling was welcomed by Marie Collins and Andrew Madden, both of whom were abused by priests of the Dublin archdiocese, and by Mr Ahern, as well as One in Four and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. The report is over 700 pages long and is expected to name 14 priests/former priests who served in the archdiocese, 10 of whom have been convicted of abuse.

It is understood the commission investigation paid particular attention to the handling of allegations by State and church authorities including 19 bishops, four of them archbishops of Dublin. These are Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop Dermot Ryan, Archbishop Kevin McNamara and Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Thirteen of the remaining 15 bishops were or are auxiliary bishops of Dublin. They include Bishop Joseph Carroll (deceased), Bishop Brendan Comiskey (who resigned as bishop of Ferns in 2002), Bishop Martin Drennan (Galway), Bishop Patrick Dunne (deceased), Bishop Ray Field (a current auxiliary bishop of Dublin), Bishop Laurence Forristal (retired bishop of Ossory).

Also involved are Bishop James Kavanagh (deceased), Bishop Jim Moriarty (Kildare and Leighlin), Bishop Donal Murray (Limerick), Bishop Dermot O’Mahony (retired), Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh (retired auxiliary bishop of Dublin), Bishop Eamonn Walsh (a current auxiliary bishop of Dublin and apostolic administrator to Ferns diocese from April 2002 to April 2006), and Bishop Desmond Williams (deceased).