Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach Enda Kenny stands by Vatican rebuke

By Shane Hickey

Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny is refusing to back down from his claims that Catholic Church authorities frustrated investigations into child sex abuse.

Relations between the Irish government and the Vatican hit a new low after the authorities in Rome claimed the Cloyne Report did not back up assertions made by Mr Kenny in his landmark speech to the Dail in July.

The content of the speech is under fresh scrutiny after the Vatican posted a detailed riposte at the weekend - but the Taoiseach will not be backtracking on his comments.

"There is no expectation there is going to be an imminent statement," his spokesman said last night.

In its first response to the speech, the Vatican said that it in no way hampered or interfered with the inquiry into abuse cover-ups in the Cloyne diocese.

It said Mr Kenny failed to substantiate the allegation he had made in the Dail. And the Vatican stated that at no time did it "seek to interfere with Irish civil law or impede the civil authority in the exercise of its duties".

It added: "In particular, the accusation that the Holy See attempted 'to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago', which Mr Kenny made no attempt to substantiate, is unfounded."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmaid Martin backed the Vatican in calling for Mr Kenny to clarify his remarks.

"There is no evidence presented in the Murphy Report to substantiate this, the Holy See could find no evidence and the Department of An Taoiseach's office said that the Taoiseach was not referring to any specific event. This merits explanation," he said.

The Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, did not refer to the allegations by the Taoiseach in a statement on the matter. He said people should read the response of the Holy See for themselves.

In response to the Vatican statement, Mr Kenny said he did not regret making the Dail speech.

But he would not comment on the Vatican's statement until he had studied it in more detail.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter also said it was important that Dublin gave detailed consideration to the Vatican's response.

He said he was not going to pre-judge that response until he had an opportunity to read the 25-page statement, and would then make his views known.

The controversy stemmed from the aftermath of the Cloyne Report, which was released in July.

Belfast Telegraph


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