Dublin inquiry into how 19 senior clergy handled sex claims


THE DUBLIN Archdiocese Commission of Investigation is believed to have inquired into how four archbishops and 15 bishops addressed clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Dublin archdiocese.

It is expected to present its report to Minister for Justice by the middle of next month, most likely in the week beginning Sunday, July 12th.

The report is understood to be 800 to 1,000 pages and, unlike the 2005 Ferns report or the Ryan report, it will name priests who have been convicted in the courts in relation to abuse and those whose names are already in the public domain in relation to abuse.

It is thought likely that on its receipt the report will be referred by the Dermot Ahern to Attorney General Paul Gallagher for advice as three priests investigated by it are currently before the courts on abuse charges.

Chaired by Ms Justice Yvonne Murphy with solicitors Ita Mangan and Hugh O’Neill, the commission has been investigating the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations by Catholic Church authorities in the Dublin archdiocese between January 1st, 1975, and April 30th, 2004.

Some of the cases investigated refer to alleged incidents of abuse which took place before January 1st, 1975.

The commission has concentrated on how the allegations were handled by church authorities where a representative sample of 46 priests was concerned and which involved the four archbishops and 15 bishops.

It is not known whether any of the 19 senior church figures investigated were found to have been at fault in handling allegations.

The archbishops concerned are Dr John Charles McQuaid, Dr Dermot Ryan, Dr Kevin McNamara and Cardinal Desmond Connell. Thirteen of the 15 bishops concerned have been auxiliary bishops in the Dublin archdiocese over the period.

They included Bishop Joseph Carroll (deceased), Bishop Brendan Comiskey (who resigned as Bishop of Ferns in April 2002), Bishop Martin Drennan (currently Bishop of Galway), Bishop Patrick Dunne (deceased), Bishop Ray Field (currently an auxiliary bishop in Dublin) and Bishop Laurence Forristal (who retired as Bishop of Ossory in 2007).

Also included were Bishop James Kavanagh (deceased), Bishop Jim Moriarty (currently Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin), Bishop Donal Murray (currently Bishop of Limerick);

Bishop Dermot O’Mahony (retired), Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh (currently an auxiliary bishop in Dublin), Bishop Eamonn Walsh (currently an auxiliary in Dublin and apostolic administrator to Ferns diocese from April 2002 to April 2006), and Bishop Desmond Williams (deceased).

Two other bishops, the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, and the Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey, sat on a 1992 tribunal in Dublin set up under canon law by Cardinal Connell to investigate abuse allegations against (then) Fr Tony Walsh.

The tribunal found him guilty and recommended that he be laicised but nobody in civil authority was told.