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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Archbishop reveals concerns about recent cases of possible abuse by priests

Archbishop Eamon Martin said he has dealt with three or four situations in the last year.

Image: Laura Hutton via

ARCHBISHOP EAMON MARTIN has revealed that in the past year he has come across a number of situations where there were concerns that somebody vulnerable may have been abused by a priest.

Speaking to Eamonn Mallie on Irish TV, the leader of Ireland’s Catholics said, “Every single time that I come across anything now that potentially could be a criminal offence, it may not be a criminal offence, but potentially- we now have a system, we have a dedicated person”.

“With regard to my own life and my own work as archbishop,” Martin continued, “I would say yes, even since last September [2014] there have been a number of cases, not of child abuse, but cases where we’ve been worried that somebody who is vulnerable may have been abused by a priest.

We immediately seek the advice of the civil authorities.

“We have a very close link with the statutory authorities and we refer everything, if we have any suggestion at all that somebody might be at risk or that there might be a danger to a child, it’s referred.

I would say in the past year there have been three or four situations which I have referred and none of them at this point have been determined by the civil authorities as being something they would process.

“Whenever there is a criminal act, we also have obligations in civil law as well as our obligations to our calling.”

Following major revelations about clerical sexual abuse in Ireland, reviews into the treatment of children are now carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI).

The organisation, which was set up in early 2009, periodically releases reports into abuse allegations within the church.

Last month, a report found that 325 allegations of abuse were made against 141 Catholic priests or brothers in Ireland since 1960.


Family Issues 

During a wide ranging interview with the archbishop, Mallie asked the Catholic primate if he’s ever tempted when meeting women and thinks ‘Gosh, I’d like to spend the night with her’?

Martin laughed and said, “Of course, I think any man can be tempted but all of us whether we be married, whether we be single, whether we be priests, we have our moral code and our values… we’re living in a hyper-sexualised culture.

When asked if he has to ‘check himself regularly’, Eamon replied, “Absolutely, I think any man does. You have to have boundaries in your behaviour.”

Discussing fatherhood, Archbishop Eamon Martin was asked if he would like to be a Daddy and said: “Sometimes I do.

When I see my brother and sisters with their children and their families that does make me sometimes wonder ‘God, I’d love to have my own children’ of course I would, but I have made this promise and in some way it opens up for me the possibility of fatherhood and parenthood in a different way.

Archbishop Eamon Martin also discussed the recent marriage equality referendum on Eamonn Mallie Meets.

Martin said, “Many people choose to follow what we said and a large number of people voted no.

Many people voted yes because they knew a gay person, maybe someone in their family.

“We tried to put in a positive way our understanding of marriage. What we tried to set out was that this was a change in the meaning of marriage.”

Read: Feeling of “bereavement” at gay marriage result – says leader of Ireland’s Catholics>

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