Belfast Telegraph

Mary McAleese told: name Catholic cleric who laughed

By Mark O'Regan

Former Irish president Mary McAleese should name and shame a senior Catholic cleric who "laughed" when she told him to "tell the people of God" details of sexual abuse within the Church.

A leading children's rights campaigner in the Republic said Mrs McAleese now has a "duty" to disclose the identity of the person.

The former president had said the cleric, who she would not name, had come "looking for advice" at Aras an Uachtarain.

The incident occurred at a time when Church authorities were under increasing pressure to investigate a variety of abuse allegations.

She suggested to him that the Church should "open up the diocesan archives'' and having carried out a relevant audit relating to the allegations "tell the people of God what's going on".

But the cleric only "laughed" at her, she recalled. "I said if you don't the state will intervene. And his last words to me, getting into the car were, 'the state would never cross that line'. A week later, the state crossed that line," the Belfast-born woman added.

But her decision to protect the identity of the individual mentioned in her speech at a fundraising initiative in Australia has provoked angry condemnation.

Children at Risk in Ireland CEO, Mary Flaherty, said McAleese has a "duty" to disclose the identity of the person involved.

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