TDs call for cutting of diplomatic ties with Vatican


THE VATICAN had, at its worst, shielded paedophiles, Independent TD John Halligan claimed.

Mr Halligan, who represents Waterford, said the Government should break off diplomatic relations with the Vatican, expel the papal nuncio, strip his office of the title of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and recall the Irish Ambassador.

“If any foreign government conspired with Irish citizens to break the law here the ambassador of the country in question would be expelled. In this case, the Vatican, a sovereign state, has refused to co-operate with the investigation into a criminal conspiracy against children here.”

Regina Doherty (FG) said she believed in heaven and an afterlife and that someday everybody had to stand before God and be judged.

“It gives me solace that all of those who perpetrated these crimes against children and young adults in the past must stand before their maker at some stage one day.”

Richard Boyd Barrett (Ind) said the papal nuncio should be expelled until the church issued a clear statement giving precedence to civil law in Ireland.

Michael McCarthy (Labour) said it was “immoral, illegal and disgusting” that more spin, language and questions had emanated from people at the centre of the report.

“I refer, in particular, to Msgr Denis O’Callaghan, who is a former chairman of Cork VEC. He served on boards of management and was involved in an authority that educates young children in Cork. There was zero accountability from that man this week and, when it was put to him by a reporter that he had failed the victims of this abuse, he had the temerity and cheek to ask in what way. That is damned brazen, to say the least.”

Mr McCarthy said one aspect of “this abhorrent case” was that Msgr O’Callaghan referred to survivors of abuse as “accusers”, almost as though their claims were spurious and without foundation.

“That man, who was the delegate of Bishop Magee, has contributed singularly to the hurt and pain of the survivors of this abuse.”

Mr McCarthy said there was no account of Bishop Magee’s whereabouts. “Allegedly he could be in Rome or in America. Is one honestly expected to believe that people involved in that organisation do not know where he is?”