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Church of Ireland newspaper enters Cloyne controvers

Alf McCreary

By Alf McCreary

An influential Protestant newspaper has entered the controversy over the handling of child sex abuse allegations in Cloyne by stating it would be “beneficial” if the beleaguered Bishop John Magee were to resign.

This week’s edition of the Church of Ireland Gazette has also called the current controversy in the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne in Cork a “serious blow to the Church”.

Newry-born Bishop Magee is at the centre of the controversy over his mishandling of child sex allegations against two priests. Bishop Magee, who is a former assistant to three Popes, has so far resisted pressure in the Republic for him to resign.

However, the editoral in the Gazette states his resignation would be beneficial in underlining the utmost importance of child protection measures.

It adds: “The current controversy is a blow to a Church that has put immense effort into formulating procedures that are of the highest standard.”

The Gazette, which has an independent stance in the Church of Ireland, continues: “The findings of the Roman Catholic Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children is that its Diocese of Cloyne has not been compliant with the Church's own child protection policies, having failed to alert the authorit ies to child sexual abuse allegations.”

The paper also states that “Bishop Magee himself was involved in drawing up the very child protection policies to which he appears not to have paid proper attention”.

It adds Bishop Magee has accepted errors have been made in his Diocese, though “not intentionally” and he has apologised, and given assurances that such errors will not recur.

The Gazette stops short of calling outright for the Bishop's resignation, but it states that: “There is no doubt that his resignation would have the benefit of providing a very explicit recognition of the utmost importance of child protection procedures.”

The Gazette also says that the controversy provides “a salutary lesson” for the Church of Ireland regarding the adherence to its own Safeguarding Trust policy on child protection.

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