Belfast Telegraph

Dublin Archbishop refuses to publicly back embattled Cardinal Sean Brady

By Colm Kelpie

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin yesterday declined to publicly back embattled All-Ireland primate Cardinal Sean Brady.

Dr Brady has kept a relatively low profile since new allegations emerged of the handling of child abuse concerns raised about notorious paedophile cleric Fr Brendan Smyth.

With just weeks to go to the 50th Eucharistic Congress, Archbishop Martin said the challenges facing the church were not about just one person.

"Cardinal Brady has said that he is staying and that he has lots of support from people; I've never commented and I don't know any thing of those details," he said. Asked if he supported Cardinal Brady, Dr Martin replied: "I've made no comments on other bishops."

Earlier this month, Dr Martin said it would not be "appropriate" to comment on the Cardinal's position.

The beleaguered leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has faced calls to consider his position after the broadcasting of a BBC documentary focusing on Smyth.

It revealed how, in the mid-1970s, the then Fr Brady and two other priests had been given crucial information by 14-year-old abuse victim Brendan Boland concerning Smyth, but church authorities did not pass it on to parents of other victims of Smyth.

Archbishop Martin has called for an independent international inquiry into the crimes of Smyth to be carried out.

Dr Brady, who has publicly apologised to Mr Boland, had claimed he received a lot of support from within the church to stay on in his role.

Dr Martin was speaking at the publication of the annual child protection update of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

It revealed 356 allegations or suspicions have been made against 10 unnamed "serial abusers" over the past six decades.

Five have been criminally convicted and two are dead.

Allegations

Other details include:

  • Allegations of child sexual abuse were reported against four priests of the archdiocese in the last year.
  • A suspicion was raised against one.
  • 98 priests have had allegations levelled against them in the last 70 years. 1,350 priests have served in that period.
  • 199 civil actions have been taken against 46 priests of the diocese -- 135 have been concluded and 64 are ongoing
  • The cost to the archdiocese for settling claims so far stands at 15.2m -- 10.3m euros for settlements and 4.9m for the legal costs.
  • 10 priests or former priests have been convicted in the courts.

The figures from the report also showed more than a third of the allegations against the 98 priests are alleged to have happened in the 1980s.

Andrew Fagan, director of services with the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service in Dublin, said there were ongoing efforts to maintain high standards in child safety.

"In Dublin, child safeguarding operates to a high standard and Dublin parishes are now safer places for children," he said.

"While the majority of allegations of abuse reported to us now, relate to sexual abuse which may have occurred many years ago, it is still crucial to be vigilant and to work to ensure standards are maintained," he added.

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