Belfast Telegraph

Kenny stands firm over Vatican row

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has accused the Holy See of unwarranted interference in a government-ordered inquiry into clerical child abuse over three separate years.

Amid calls to clarify allegations that the Vatican had frustrated the state investigation, Mr Kenny said the Catholic Church must be warned that nothing less than full co-operation is good enough.

The Taoiseach said the Murphy inquiry - which exposed devastating abuse and cover-ups in the Dublin Archdiocese and Cloyne Diocese - was separately denied information at least three times.

Mr Kenny insisted he was standing by his unprecedented attack on the Catholic hierarchy on July 20 following calls by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for him to explain himself.

"I made the point that this is a statutory commission of inquiry and as such nothing less than full co-operation is required, and anything less than full co-operation in my view is unwarranted interference," the Taoiseach said.

The Vatican branded Mr Kenny's allegations that it frustrated the Murphy team as unfounded as it responded to the damning Cloyne report last weekend.

He said his widely-praised attack was expressing the anger, frustrations and concerns of the Irish people.

"As a member of the Catholic Church, I want to see the Church of which I am a member as absolutely above reproach in the issue of this and other areas," Mr Kenny said. "And for that reason, my claim in the Dail still stands, because this was a statutory commission of inquiry.

"And in 2006, and 2007 and in 2009, there were requests for information and assistance to the Vatican by the Murphy Commission and in each of these cases that request was either refused or rejected."

The deepening diplomatic row between the Irish Government and the Vatican deepened as relations between Murphy and the Church fractured further as it inquired into Cloyne.

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