Smyth abuse victim disappointed at Cardinal Brady’s ‘retiring naturally’

‘They’re attempting to save face again’

Abuse victim Brendan Boland (53) has expressed disappointment at the manner of Cardinal Brady's retirement as Archbishop of Armagh and Catholic Primate of All-Ireland.

The cardinal, who was 75 on Saturday, has submitted his resignation to Rome, as is required of all Catholic bishops when they reach that age. He remains a cardinal for life and may continue to vote in papal elections until August 16th, 2019, when he will be 80.

In 1975 Brendan Boland, then 14, was questioned by canon lawyer Fr John Brady and Dundalk parish priest Msgr Francis Donnelly on allegations he made about being abused by Norbertine priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

Present in support of Brendan Boland was then young Dominican priest Fr Oliver McShane in whom the teenager had first confided about the abuse. Fr McShane has since left the priesthood. At the end of the inquiry Brendan Boland was sworn to secrecy by Fr Brady.


On Cardinal Brady’s letter of resignation, Brendan Boland said yesterday “it’s a long time coming.” He felt “he should have done it back in 2010. Maybe he should not have taken the job at all in 1994 when he found out Smyth was arrested in Northern Ireland”.

‘I feel let down again’

Interviewed on


Radio One’s

This Week

programme yesterday, he said he and Smyth’s other victims were “really disappointed.

Cardinal Brady

is resigning, but it appears to us that he’s just retiring naturally as if he’s done nothing wrong. I feel let down again. They’re attempting to save face again.

“They’ve failed to acknowledge the mishandling of the information that I gave them back in 1975, which is the names and addresses of five or six other children that I knew were being abused, and they failed to act on that.

“Back then the cardinal could at least have gone to the parents of the children, that would have stopped it. He had the information,” Mr Boland said.


“He went to another child and he took him out of school and he questioned him without even letting his parents know and he swore that other child to secrecy as well, in


. So that meant that child wasn’t going to tell his parents and to this day that child has never done it.”

Cardinal Brady had apologised to him but “I wasn’t looking for a personal apology to myself. I was looking for an apology to all the children who had been abused since 1975, when he had the information. That’s the apology I wanted, not an apology to me.”

He has "no desire to meet with Cardinal Brady whatsoever", but he would like the Cardinal to "read my book (Sworn to Silence), read it on a human level, and reflect on it, then come and talk to me and then tell me if he felt he was right to retire naturally or if he should have resigned."

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times