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Cardinal Brady faces new claims over role in sex abuse inquiry

Abuse allegations made by a 14-year-old boy were mishandled by the current head of the Catholic Church back in the 1970s with result that other boys were abused, a BBC documentary disclosed.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Cardinal Sean Brady
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE PRIMATE OF All-Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady is this morning facing new allegations that he failed to protect children from abuse by the paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.

A BBC programme last night said that Brady had been given names and addresses of boys being abused by Smyth but did not ensure their safety after the Catholic Church conducted a secret inquiry in 1975 into the abuse of a 14-year-old boy.

On the This World documentary broadcast last night on BBC Northern Ireland victim Brendan Boland claimed that he was abused by Smyth when he was 12-year-old.

The programme said that two other boys continued to be abused by Smyth after the inquiry, conducted by the then Fr Sean Brady and two other priests, completed its work.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, the reporter who worked on the story, Darragh MacIntyre, explained what he uncovered :

The new evidence here is that the Cardinal was given the names and addresses of children who were being abused or at risk of being abused by Ireland’s most notorious paedophile Brendan Smyth but he failed to ensure they were protected.

MacIntyre explained that Boland was interviewed alone without his parents and documentation verifies his account of this interview.

The now 36-year-old is  said to have spoken of five children who were on trips with him and Smyth and said that gave the inquiry team their contact details.

The reporter subsequently tracked down these these five children, all of whom said that to the best of their knowledge their families were not warned about Brendan Smyth. Two of the children, a boy from Belfast and a boy from Cavan continued to be abused by the priest.

The programme is an expansion on evidence that was first disclosed in 2010 that a canonical inquiry was undertaken in 1975 but gardaí were not notified of the allegations made.

Boland reached a confidential settlement with Brady in December of last year and later told RTÉ that he felt the church had “reneged on what they said” following their inquiry.

Of Brady he said at the time: “He gave me and my father assurances that Father Brendan Smyth would be dealt with and that it would never happen again and he didn’t keep his promise, the church didn’t keep their promise.”

A spokesman for Brady is quoted in the Irish Times as saying that Fr Brady would not have been the person responsible for making a report to civil authorities.

A more formal response is expected from Cardinal Brady later today, RTÉ Tommie Gorman said this morning.

Fr Brendan Smyth died in 1997. He had been convicted of 91 counts of child sexual abuse which he had continued to perpetrate until 1993.

Anybody affected or distressed by the current focus on child abuse can contact Connect Counselling for free on 1800 477 477 (and from Northern Ireland 00800 477 477 77). Opening hours are from 6 to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Read: Abuse victim calls for Brady apology as lawsuits against Cardinal emerge

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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