Victims of clerical abuse and Minister welcome court decision on report

 

THERE HAS been a general welcome for yesterday’s High Court decision that publication of the report of the commission of investigation into the Dublin archdiocese can go ahead following 22 edits.

Each edit was specified in detail by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday and includes all of chapter 19, as well as reference to the person who is the subject of that chapter in the report contents and its index. Overall, the report is more than 700 pages in length.

Two people abused by priests of the Dublin archdiocese, Marie Collins and Andrew Madden, also welcomed yesterday’s decision.

“After campaigning so hard and so long to have the inquiry, I am happy for all concerned that it is coming to conclusion,” said Ms Collins, who first made complaints about her abuse 24 years ago.

She expressed disappointment however at “not getting the entire report”, but felt this was “understandable from the point of view of ensuring justice.” She said she hoped what was being left out now would not distract or render incomplete “the pattern of handling of abuse cases” by Dublin diocesan authorities.

Mr Madden, who first went public about his abuse 14 years ago, said he was “happy” at yesterday’s decision. “It is very clear that chapter 19 refers to just one person from a sample of 46 against whom allegations were made and this should not be a problem when it came to inferring the behaviour of the diocese” in handling allegations, he said.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern also welcomed the High Court decision.

“I have always made it clear that I have been anxious to put the report into the public domain as quickly as possible while, at the same time, not wishing to do anything which would prejudice the chances of any of the people involved in these evil deeds being brought to justice.”

One in Four executive director Maeve Lewis said: “The decision will come as a relief to the people who were sexually abused as children in the diocese of Dublin, many of whom have been waiting for years to learn how it was that so many allegations were mishandled.”

She regretted “the postponement of the publication of one chapter” but accepted this was necessary “to ensure that current criminal proceedings are not prejudiced”.

She noted there had now been statutory inquiries into clerical child sex abuse in Ferns and Dublin, with one ongoing in Cloyne, but she did not believe these dioceses were exceptional.

“We know from our clients experiences that there have been many failures across the country,” she said. “Children have been sexually abused because the church failed to act.”

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop also welcomed the High Court’s ruling.