Martin 'unhappy' with response


Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he is not happy with the response of bishops to Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Timetonight Dr Martin said he would write to the priests or bishops named in the report that “had a responsibility to the archdiocese of Dublin” to ask them to “give answers about what happened”.

Dr Martin said: “I believe that the people of the archdiocese of Dublin, where this abuse took place, have a right to have these questions addressed today.”

“My view is they should publicly come forward and answer the questions to the people where these abuses took place.”

“I would much prefer to be in that situation than to be hunted or pushed.”

“It is not enough to say this is a matter for other dioceses where they are now.”

"Everybody has to stand up and accept the responsibility for what they did," he added.

Earlier, priests and parishioners in the Diocese of Limerick voiced their support for Bishop Donal Murray, arguing that demanding his resignation will not help the healing of victims of clerical sex abuse.

The Dublin diocesan report said Dr Murray had handled a number of allegations of abuse badly. In one case, his actions were “inexcusable”, the report said.

About 80 people attended a meeting in Limerick on Sunday to discuss his future, just hours after Dr Murray told Mass-goers at St Joseph’s Church that he would be guided by the priests and people of the diocese as to whether his presence was a “help or a hindrance”.

In a letter of support published yesterday and signed by eight people, claiming to represent the lay people and priests working in the diocese of Limerick who attended the meeting, the group said it would be “a retrograde step” for the continuing development of safeguarding children if Dr Murray stepped down.

Speaking this morning, Vicar General of Limerick Father Eamonn Fitzgibbon said there was “a huge sense of sorrow, of shame” at the meeting. He said the group wanted to express their “horror at the way in which the lives of innocent children had been violated”. They also wanted to examine in detail the specific findings in relation to Dr Murray.

He accepted the commission report reveals “very serious issues”. However, demanding Dr Murray step down would not serve a useful purpose.

“We feel … that targeting individual bishops or seeking the resignation of individual bishops wouldn’t ultimately serve the healing of victims or the healing of the church,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“We would like Bishop Murray to continue in office because his record here in Limerick in terms of implementing the standards and guidelines for the safeguarding of children is exemplary,” Fr Fitzgibbon said. “He has worked tirelessly on this and vigorously on this.”

He said, by seeking the guidance of the priests and people of the diocese, Dr Murray had “made himself accountable”.

Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh said yesterday calls for the resignation of Dr Murray were based on a “gross misreading” of the Dublin diocesan report and warned against a desire “to get a head on a plate”.

Abuse survivor Andrew Madden today accused the Catholic Church of engaging in a process of damage limitation. He also said he was shocked at the support for Bishop Murray.

“This is a cause of considerable anger and deep distress to many victims of abuse including myself,” Mr Madden said. “In the 14 years since I first went public I have never seen such people gather together and issue a similar statement in support of a single victim of child sexual abuse by a priest.”

“There was talk recently about a service of atonement at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin planned by more ‘lay people’ in response to the Ryan and Dublin Reports. This service had the full support of Archbishop Martin providing it had the support of victims," he said. "I have now written to the organisers and told them not to bother, as any words expressed by bishops or anyone else at such a service would be utterly meaningless.”