Even 15 years after his death, the malign shadow of Fr Brendan Smyth still haunts the Catholic Church
Cardinal Sean Brady has insisted that he would not resign after fresh claims about his role in the cover-up of abuse by serial paedophile cleric Brendan Smyth.
Documents suggest that he was an investigator into paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth — and not a just a note taker.
The BBC allegations also include claims Cardinal Brady and the Church failed to pass on any warnings to other victims of Smyth, despite accepting the evidence of a victim.
A note for a Church inquiry into Smyth in 1975, at which the then Fr Brady was present, puts him in an investigative role.
The note, in Cardinal Brady's handwriting, refers to the allegations against Smyth and that he, Fr Brady, had been “dispatched to investigate them”.
A document signed by a boy sworn to secrecy after complaining of being abused by Smyth is also counter-signed by Fr Brady.
Limited details of his involvement in the secret inquiry emerged in recent years, but Cardinal Brady has always insisted that his role was that of a notary and that he simply did his job.
Cardinal Brady said in 2009 he would resign if any of his actions had led to the abuse of children.
Last night he faced new questions about his role in the process whereby children were sworn to silence and Smyth continued to abuse young people.
But in a statement the Church said the programme had taken critical comments out of context.
It said that Fr Brady believed the boys in 1975: “He acted quickly by reporting all available information to his bishop, Bishop Francis MacKiernan, so action could be taken against Fr Brendan Smyth by his Abbot Kevin Smith. It would be totally disingenuous to suggest that Fr Brady, in 1975, had power to stop Smyth.”
The documentary, The Shame Of The Catholic Church, last night saw a Smyth victim, Brendan Boland, speak for the first time of how he was abused, and how he gave evidence to then-Fr Brady and two other priests.
Fr Brady took down the answers. Another asked questions.
Cavan man Mr Boland, now 51, said: “I felt alone, scared, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what they were going to ask me. I was only 14 years old at the time.”
One question put to the boy was: “Did you ever get to like it (the abuse)?”
Mr Boland also named five other people he believed were abused in his statement. Despite this, one of these five victims told the BBC that the abuse continued for a year afterwards.
His sister was abused for seven years — and four cousins were abused up until 1988.
At the end of the questioning Brendan was handed a Bible and instructed to swear and sign an oath of secrecy.
“One of the priests came over with a Bible and made me put my hand on the bible and say that ‘I Brendan Boland, do solemnly swear that I have told the truth the whole truth and I will speak to no one about this meeting only to authorised priests’.
“And then I signed it and the other signature on the document was Fr John B Brady, now Sean Brady, Cardinal of Ireland,” he told the BBC programme.
BBC reporter Darragh MacIntyre said: “The evidence reveals that Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, had the names and addresses of children who were being abused or were at risk of being abused by Ireland’s most notorious paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth, but failed to ensure that they were protected.”
He said the corporation put specific questions to Cardinal Brady several months ago about all allegations in last night’s documentary and no specific responses were given to those questions.
The Church last night said: “It is critical to note that Cardinal Brady's comment in 2009 that he would resign if by his action children were put at risk was specifically in response to a question about if he was a bishop with overall responsibility for dealing with allegations at the time of his action or inaction.
“But he wasn’t a bishop in 1975, he was a priest who was asked by his own bishop to record evidence in a process that was headed by more senior clergy than him. ”
The One in Four group which represents victims of abuse said the new revelations require an explanation from the Cardinal.
Maeve Lewis said: “While on paper the Church now has good child protection practices, this documentary casts a shadow on the credibility of Cardinal Brady as a leader of the new policy. Although times were different then, it is unimaginable that any adult had such knowledge and failed to act.”
Source Irish Independent