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Cloyne's Monsignor O'Callaghan 'should have resigned', says Archbishop

Cloyne administrator Archbishop Clifford agrees that the man in charge of implementing church guidelines for child protection should have stepped down.

File photo of Archbishop Dermot Clifford at the blessing of Croke Park's Hill 16 in 2005.
File photo of Archbishop Dermot Clifford at the blessing of Croke Park's Hill 16 in 2005.
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

THE CATHOLIC archbishop who took over the administration of Cloyne two years ago says that he believes the diocese’s former delegate for safeguarding children should have resigned from his role.

In a letter to the Irish Catholic newspaper today, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan says he feels he should have resigned from that position once he realised how his commitment to pastoral care came into conflict with church guidelines issued in 1996 on dealing with abuse complaints.

The “Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response” document outlines recommended responses to abuse claims, including that priests contact authorities outside the church “for the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences”.

Responding to O’Callaghan’s letter today, Archbishop Dermot Clifford said in a statement this evening:

I agree that he should have resigned at that time, once he came to the conclusion that he could not implement the 1996 Framework Document from the Catholic Bishops on safeguarding of children.

Clifford said that O’Callaghan’s pastoral response “is not a sufficient response to allegations of child sexual abuse” and does “not provide for a proper investigation of the complaints whether by state or church authorities”.

Clifford also called on O’Callaghan to “refrain from any further public comment on this controversy as it will only cause further distress and hurt to survivors of child sexual abuse and their families”.

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Yesterday, Bishop John Magee, who ran the diocese when allegations of child abuse were made but not acted upon, apologised to the victims of clerical abuse in Cloyne in his first interview since the publication of the Cloyne Report last month.

The report, which covered a period from 1996 to early 2000, was highly critical of how church authorities, particularly Magee, responded to the allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Vatican recalled the Pope’s representative to Ireland following the report’s publication for consultation on its findings and has not yet issued an official response.

Read: Cloyne report findings ‘could not be starker or more disturbing’ – Shatter >

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