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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

Diarmuid Martin calls for independent inquiry into Brendan Smyth abuse

The Archbishop of Dublin said an international investigation of the actions of both Church and State was needed to reveal the “full story”.

Brendan Smyth pictured before his sentencing in 1997
Brendan Smyth pictured before his sentencing in 1997
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE ARCHBISHOP OF Dublin has called for an independent commission to investigate the abuse of children by Fr Brendan Smyth.

Diarmuid Martin said only a full inquiry would reveal the “full story” of Fr Smyth’s crimes, and how he was allowed to continue abusing for so long.

He said the abuse was of “such a dimension” – taking place in the Republic, Northern Ireland and the US – that only an international investigation would be sufficient.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Martin said he was calling for:

An independent commission of investigation into the activities of Brendan Smyth, as to how he was allowed to abuse for so many years. A commission that would look north and south, Church and State.

He said such a commission would be able to go beyond the “bits and pieces” revealed by investigative journalists and diocesan inquiries.

However, it is not clear on what statutory basis an international investigation could be established.

Responding to Martin’s call, abuse survivor and Amnesty International Ireland director Colm O’Gorman said that any inquiry would have to examine the role of the Vatican – and would thus require cooperation from the Holy See.

“An investigation that required Vatican cooperation would of course offer them the opportunity to show they would not undermine or obstruct!” O’Gorman tweeted.

Brendan Smyth died in prison in 1997.

More: Brady never offered his resignation to the Vatican – Catholic Church>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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