Judge clears abuse report chapter


The High Court has today ruled that chapter 19 of the Murphy report into clerical child sex abuse in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese can be published.

On October 15th, 2009, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan ruled that chapter 19 of the report, which deals with abuse by former priest Tony Walsh, and contains 21 other references to him, should not be published pending the outcome of court cases against him.

Walsh was jailed on December 6th for the sexual abuse of three boys. He was sentenced to 16 years, with four suspended, on 17 counts of sexual abuse, including five counts of buggery on one boy.

The Murphy report investigated how clerical child sex abuse allegations involving 46 priests in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese were handled by church and State authorities between 1975 and 2004.

Chapter 19 of the report is now expected to be published in full next week. The Department of Justice said the report is expected to be published on Monday at the earliest.

Spport group One in Four said chapter 19 is likely to show many children were sexually abused by the known paedophile priest because the archdiocese failed to act.

Group executive director Maeve Lewis said it will also reveal further evidence of the culture of secrecy and cover-up which existed in the Dublin Archdiocese before the appointment of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

“Hundreds of people who were abused as children in Dublin and their families will be distressed by the contents of this chapter,” she said. “Unfortunately the chapter is likely to be published just before Christmas, a particularly difficult time for survivors of sexual abuse anyway. We urge anybody who is affected to reach out for support to One in Four.”

Last weekend, Dr Martin apologised for clerical child abuse scandals to parishioners at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot, where Walsh was parish priest.

Fine Gael children’s spokesman Charlie Flanagan said the Government must publish the chapter without delay.

“Tony Walsh has finally been sentenced for his terrible crimes but the publication of chapter 19 will expose vital detail on how his abuses were allowed to persist when so many senior members of the clergy were aware of them,” he said. “It will also represent long-awaited recognition for the heroism of his victims.”