As Cardinal Sean Brady turns his back on calls to quit, pressure mounts on police to get involved
Pressure is growing on the PSNI to interview Cardinal Sean Brady over the most recent claims in the child sex abuse scandal.
The police didn’t act two years ago when the revelations that Dr Brady was present at the interview of two victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth first emerged.
One of the young victims, Brendan Boland, gave the names and addresses of several other children he knew were being abused by Smyth.
Despite this evidence nothing was done to warn the children’s parents or inform the police, and Smyth went on to abuse dozens more children over subsequent decades until he was finally brought to justice in the 1990s, dying in prison in 1997.
He had been abusing children since the 1940s.
Stormont justice committee member Jim Wells said he feels it is way past time the police instigated an investigation into the whole affair.
“It’s a pity that the police didn’t uncover the evidence that the BBC did. Now is the time to act. The evidence gathered by the media, and indeed public opinion, is much more overwhelming and there is a mood out there among both Protestant and Catholic people that no stone is left unturned.
“I cannot see any set of circumstances, given the evidence that has now emerged before us, that the police do not take action.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said he thinks the police should have been looking at the situation two years ago when the allegations first surfaced.
Mr Allister, a barrister, said: “The police should probably have been asking questions then. They should certainly be involved now.”
He has written to the Chief Constable asking him to take action against the cardinal.
The justice committee at Stormont is also writing to the PSNI asking it hat action it intends taking.
Justice Minister David Ford said: “The police hardly need to be reminded by any other body that there are widespread concerns and that there are, potentially, issues for them to look at.”
It was revealed in 2010 that the Catholic Church leader was involved in the 1975 interviews of two young boys who had been abused by Smyth.
Cardinal Brady insisted then, as now, that he was only a note-taker during those interviews and passed any information he had on to more senior clerics.
He blames those superiors for not acting on the evidence that Smyth was a serial child rapist.
The latest documentary on the scandal claimed that Cardinal Brady was more than a note-taker, and was in fact an investigator who should have done more to protect children.
In 2009 Cardinal Brady said: “If I found myself in a situation where I was aware that my failure to act had allowed or meant that other children were abused, well, then, I think I would resign.”
SDLP leader Alisdair McDonnell said that criteria had now been met and he should go.
Government ministers in the Republic have also called on him to quit.
A PSNI spokeswoman said the force was reviewing new evidence contained in the BBC documentary to see if an offence had been committed.
She added: “If we feel it is necessary to intervene we have the powers to do so.”
Unionists have accused Dr Brady of breaching the 1967 Criminal Law Act (NI) by keeping information about a dangerous child predator from the police.
Dr Brady maintains he acted within the law in not sharing information about paedophile Smyth with the police.
Mr Wells told the justice committee yesterday this claim of legality “is not true”.
He added that between 1975 “and his conviction in 1991, a further 30 victims were subjected to very serious sex abuse by Fr Brendan Smyth”.