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Gardai probe Africa sex abuse claim

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Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is important to make sure there is 'no hiding place' for perpetrators of these crimes

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is important to make sure there is 'no hiding place' for perpetrators of these crimes

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it is important to make sure there is 'no hiding place' for perpetrators of these crimes

A senior garda officer has been appointed to examine claims of clerical sexual abuse by Irish missionaries in Africa.

A litany of allegations were detailed in RTE's Prime Time Investigates programme against priests working in areas such as Kenya and South Africa.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter expressed revulsion at the catalogue of abuse and has contacted Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

"While the behaviour took place abroad, we have a solemn duty to do all that is within our power to ensure that perpetrators of this predatory abuse of children are brought to justice wherever it takes place," he said.

"There can be no hiding place for those who do these despicable acts to children."

Mr Shatter said the superintendent in charge of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit is being appointed to examine the programme.

He will look at whether any criminal behaviour was revealed that could be pursued in this jurisdiction.

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The minister said the Sexual Offences Act allows, in certain circumstances, for people to be tried here for sex crimes against a child carried out abroad. But he warned investigations and bringing prosecutions for offences overseas were very difficult.

Support group One in Four said it has been inundated with calls from Irish people and Africans living in Ireland over the programme.

Executive director Maeve Lewis said: "The Prime Time programme last night was sickeningly recognisable and told the same story that we are so familiar with in Ireland: vulnerable children being targeted and abused by priests and brothers while the Catholic authorities deny the abuse and protect the sex offenders."


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