Jesuits appoint experts to hear from pupils abused by Belvedere priest

Fr Joseph Marmion ‘abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically’ at the Dublin school in the 1970s

Belvedere College, Dublin. Fr Joseph Marmion ‘abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff’ there in the 1970s, the Jesuits said. File image: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Belvedere College, Dublin. Fr Joseph Marmion ‘abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff’ there in the 1970s, the Jesuits said. File image: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The Irish Jesuits have appointed two independent experts to assist former pupils of their schools who were abused by the late Fr Joseph Marmion.

In a statement last March the order said Fr Marmion “abused boys sexually, emotionally and physically while he was on the teaching staff at (Dublin’s) Belvedere College in the 1970s”. The priest also taught at other well-known Jesuit schools, Crescent College Limerick and Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare.

The experts appointed, Barbara Walshe and Catherine O’Connell, have extensive experience of working with abuse survivors , both as practitioners and as academics, and will engage directly with those abused by Fr Marmion.

Irish Jesuit Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney said that “in engaging the independent facilitators we have placed the direction and control of what happens next outside of the Jesuit order, whilst committing to do all that we can, as co-participants, to make the processes as effective as possible”.

He said that “although we Jesuits have committed to opening ourselves to these processes, we are purposely not involved in creating a methodology. I know that if what happens from here is to achieve the outcomes people hope for, it must be led by the people who were abused and impacted by abuse”.

The order was determined “that the full story of Jesuit knowledge, actions, and omissions will be told and that answers will be provided to all questions that have been brought forward on foot of the naming of Joseph Marmion”.

Information from Jesuits who worked alongside Fr Marmion in Belvedere College, Clongowes Wood College, Crescent College Limerick, and the Jesuit-run Gardiner Street parish in Dublin “is being gathered and collated,” said Fr Moloney.

“Our determination is that the truth be told as far as is humanly possible, whilst also taking account of the personal privacy rights of the many people who have spoken to us of their abusive experiences and of others who have spoken of how they are impacted.

“Our first duty is towards those who are suffering. We believe the most appropriate means of fulfilling that duty is through these survivor-led processes,” he said.

Some who contacted the order since its statement last March had been victims of sexual abuse by Fr Marmion. “Others have been victims of physical or emotional abuse. Still others have either been witness to abuse or otherwise impacted by the abuse or harm suffered by a friend or family member. There were also those who expressed concern that a relative might have been a victim of Joseph Marmion,” said Fr Moloney.

Meanwhile the Jesuit Safeguarding Office has been liaising with and reporting to the gardaí and other authorities.

“It was clear from those in contact that they wanted a robust process to address the truth of what happened and how it was allowed to happen,” Fr Moloney said.

The Jesuits invited people abused by Fr Marmion to directly contact the independent facilitators at Catherine.oconnell@mu.ie and/or Barbarawalshe@live.com

Further details at www.jesuit.ie