FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION of the Commission of Investigation Report into clerical sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne earlier today, politicians, clerics and rights groups have responded to the findings:
Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children
The days of voluntary compliance are over when it comes to child protection… On Friday, I will publish the new Children First national guidance document, backed by an implementation plan from the HSE to ensure consistency across the country. This will lay down a robust child protection code for the State, backed up by a strong implementation and inspection framework.
Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice
A central lesson we must learn from this report is that taking on trust that organisations, particularly organisations with a dismal history in this area, are living up to their responsibilities will not work.
To deal with this issue, I am today publishing detailed legislative proposals for a Criminal Justice Bill (that) will, essentially, make it an offence for a person who has information that could help in the arrest, prosecution or conviction of an offender, for a serious offence committed against a child or vulnerable adult, not to pass that information on to the Gardaí, where they know that information could help. There will be a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for failing to do so.
Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan
“While the Commission found that a number of complainants were highly complimentary about the way in which the Gardaí dealt with their complaints… it did state that it was very concerned about the approach adopted by the gardaí in three cases.”
“It is a matter of regret to me that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda Síochána to which they were entitled. The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.
Bishop John Magee
I again sincerely apologise to all those who were abused by priests in the Diocese of Cloyne for my failure to ensure that they were fully supported and responded to in their time of need.
I accept in its entirety the Commission’s view that the primary responsibility for the failure to fully implement the Church procedures in the Diocese lay with me.
Given my position of responsibility, I am particularly saddened when I read the accounts of the complainants describing the effects of the abuse, knowing that I contributed to their distress.
Cardinal Seán Brady
I apologise and express my shame and sorrow at what has happened… I call today for the introduction of legislation to support mandatory reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse to the statutory authorities.
I welcome the statement last week by the National Board that the resolution of the data protection issues earlier this year has cleared the way for the continuation of the audits of individual dioceses. The Church’s full commitment to this partnership is a guarantee of best practice in child safeguarding.
Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dermot Clifford
I humbly apologise on my own behalf as Administrator of the Diocese, and on behalf of its clergy, to all who suffered and their families… It appalls me that, up to 2008, 13 years after these procedures were put in place, they were still not being implemented in the Diocese of Cloyne. This means that the Church authorities in Cloyne failed some of those who were abused by not adhering to their commitments when dealing with complaints.
The Cloyne Report exposes a systemic and deliberate failure by the Catholic Church in the Cloyne diocese to deal with allegations of child sex abuse, and the dismissive attitude the Vatican continues to take to State investigations of abuse… It also shows the State relied on assurances from the Catholic Church instead of living up to its responsibility to protect children. Our Government’s first obligation is to its own people, not to any other State or church.
Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore
“The publication of this report is a reminder of how necessary it is for bishops and for those in positions of responsibility to be continually vigilant and pro-active in ensuring that the Safeguarding Children procedures are fully and consistently implemented in dioceses.”
Bishop Noel Treanor Bishop of Down and Connor
No words of apology from me for the culture of self protection in the Irish Church at the expense of survivors of abuse can, in themselves, ease the pain of those who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the abuses of the past. Nevertheless, I apologise once again to all those who have suffered in any way… The first duty of the Church now is to listen to the cry of survivors and help them to cope with the continuing pain with which they have been burdened by the sins of clergy.
Read: Where is Bishop John Magee? >
Read: Cloyne report findings ‘could not be starker or more disturbing’ – Shatter >