Belfast Telegraph

Report hits out at poor records of cleric abuse

By Ed Carty, Claire Graham, Michael McHugh and Lyndsey Telford

Only one priest has been convicted of abuse in Cardinal Sean Brady's archdiocese, a report has revealed.

An audit by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children also warned that it had found little information on the receipt and management of allegations in the Armagh Archdiocese before 1995.

It said there was "inconsistent filing leading to a lack of clarity about how decisions were made".

The report found Cardinal Brady, on taking up his role as Primate of All-Ireland in 1996, made a "commendable decision to gather and document whatever information was available."

"However the reviewers cannot be confident that the records of allegations made prior to 1995 are complete," it added.

Sixteen priests in the archdiocese have faced 36 allegations and four of them are still in ministry.

Only one priest has been convicted and the audit said no allegations have been made since 2000.

Cardinal Brady, who has been heavily criticised for swearing two victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth to secrecy during an internal church inquiry in 1975, said his first thoughts are now with abuse survivors.

"I know that for you, survivors of abuse and your families, days such as today are especially difficult. You have suffered terribly and I am truly sorry," he said.

The report said that 19 living priests from the Down and Connor Diocese have had allegations of abuse made against them.

Of these, seven were known about before Bishop Noel Treanor was appointed in 2008.

The audit found two of the seven had further historical allegations made against them after June 2008.

A further 12 diocesan priests also had historical allegations made against them since then.

The diocese, which includes Belfast and is the second largest in Ireland, has seen 14 concerns or allegations raised since June 2008.

Of those, seven had insufficient evidence to proceed.

Of the other seven clerics, all are currently out of ministry, one is the subject of a criminal investigation and one is in prison.

Bishop Treanor said the report found that all concerns and allegations reviewed have been properly managed by the diocese.

"My overriding concern is and will continue to be the safeguarding of children," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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