Retired principal wants bishop to be prosecuted


COMPLAINT TO GARDAÍ:A RETIRED school principal who made a complaint to gardaí that Bishop of Cloyne John Magee should be prosecuted for endangering children has reiterated his call for prosecutions after reading the Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne.

Eugene Riordan from Kanturk, Co Cork, said he was initially moved to complain to gardaí about Bishop Magee in 2009 after reading the National Board For Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church report on child protection practices in Cloyne.

“In that report, Ian Elliott refers to the case of Fr B and notes that in diocesan files on the case it was clear that the diocesan policy was to give ‘minimal’ information to gardaí and ‘no information was to be volunteered in respect of any previous complaints about this priest’,” he said.

“That got my goat at the time and I wrote to gardaí in January 2009 and they eventually took a statement of complaint from me and they wrote back in October 2010 to say that the DPP had decided that there was no evidence of the commission of any offence.”

Mr Riordan said that while he was always aware that Bishop Magee could not be prosecuted for an offence of reckless endangerment, as it only came into law after the diocese’s handling of the Fr B case, he believed there were other options open to the DPP.

“I’m not a lawyer but there is an offence of seeking to pervert the course of justice and reading the commission of investigation report, it’s clear Bishop Magee and Msgr Denis O’Callaghan concealed information in the case of another priest whom the commission calls Fr Caden.

“Bishop Magee sent a report confirming Fr Caden’s admission of abuse to Rome but sent a report saying Fr Caden denied he ever abused a boy to the diocese files in Cobh, which were the ones which he first made available to gardaí investigating abuse by Fr Caden.”

Mr Riordan said Msgr O’Callaghan had adopted a cynical approach to implementing the church’s own guidelines on child protection and that was evident in his decision not to give Fr Caden’s name to gardaí even though he did give them the name of the complainant.

“I don’t wish to minimise the trauma of abuse for victims but to my mind, Bishop Magee and Msgr O’Callaghan were 20 times worse than the abusers by covering it up – the abuse is bad but you expect those in management to deal with it, not to hide it.”

Mr Riordan said he was impressed with the report compiled by Judge Yvonne Murphy. “It’s clear and it doesn’t pull its punches.”