Belfast Telegraph

Cardinal Sean Brady must go despite apology, says sex abuse victim

By Greg Harkin

A sex-abuse victim has welcomed a public apology from Cardinal Sean Brady but insisted last night that the cleric should quit his position as the leader of Ireland's Catholics.

Brendan Boland was abused for two years from the age of 12 by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. In March 1975 he told three priests, including the cardinal -- who was then Fr Brady -- of the abuse. He believed his bravery in coming forward would prevent further cases. But Smyth went on to abuse dozens more victims.

Brendan Boland's devastating testimony in the BBC 'This World' programme led to calls for Dr Brady to resign.

On Monday Dr Brady issued a public apology to Mr Boland and finally acknowledged he had made mistakes in his handling of the case.

Mr Boland, who now lives in Essex, England, told the Irish Independent that he gave the cardinal's apology careful consideration for 24 hours before accepting it. But, he said, abuse victims could only heal if Dr Brady resigned.

"I wish to acknowledge and thank Cardinal Sean Brady for the public apology tendered by him to me and all abuse victims. I have sought this for a long time," he said last night.

"While a public apology was previously refused, I am delighted that the Cardinal has relented. I also note, and again acknowledge, the offer of a private apology as expressed last November in the course of settlement negotiations in my case and reiterated on Monday last.

"I hope that I may yet find the strength to meet personally with him. I note that Cardinal Brady has now acknowledged that the information I gave him regarding other children being abused or at risk of abuse should have been passed on to their parents in 1975.

"When I confided in the Youth Club to Fr McShane in 1975, he did the right and proper thing in immediately bringing me to my parents and telling them what had been happening to me. It was only after that, that he informed his superiors.

"If the right thing had been done by Father (now Cardinal) Brady, and Bishop McKiernan, the unspeakable abuse of the other children I had sought to save would not have happened. Both Cardinal Brady and I will have to live with our guilt in that regard."

He added: "I know that my healing, and I fear the healing of many other abuse victims, will not begin while Cardinal Brady remains as Primate of the Catholic Church in Ireland."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told the Assembly in Belfast that the Vatican had "miserably failed" abuse victims and backed calls by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for an independent investigation.

"He (Dr Martin) is someone who understands absolutely what is going on and what is required to put it right and of course he has called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry, North and South, into the Fr Brendan Smyth case to establish exactly what was the role of the churches and the bishops and indeed the statutory agencies, agencies like the Garda in the south and the RUC in the north," said Mr McGuinness, adding he was shocked that Smyth's powers to hear confession and say Mass were restored nine years after the 1975 probe.

He added: "This was an absolutely atrocious, diabolical decision which undoubtedly left many, many more young people open to the prey of this serial and habitual rapist."

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