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Donegal bishops made "significant" errors dealing with child sex abuse

The Catholic Bishop of Raphoe in Donegal described the abuse committed against children as “horrific” and said that there had been “very poor judgements and mistakes made”.

File photo of Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce
File photo of Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A REPORT INTO child sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests in Donegal has found there were “significant” errors made by bishops in the diocese in dealing with the accusations.

The current bishop of the diocese of Raphoe said that there had been “very poor judgements and mistakes made” and described the abuse committed against children as “horrific”.

The report into how allegations were dealt with in the diocese of Raphoe, which covers most of Donegal, looked at 52 allegations against 14 separate priests since 1975.

All of the priests are still alive. Eight have left the priesthood or are no longer serving in a ministry. Four of them have been convicted of offenses against children or young people.

The only priest named in the report is Eugene Green, one of the most notorious paedophile priests in Ireland, who abused more than 20 boys over 20 years.

The review of the Raphoe diocese is one of six reports, two from Northern Ireland, which are being published today.

Philip Boyce, bishop of the Raphoe diocese, said in a statement that there had been “frequent” cases of delays or non-reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse.

He admitted that the needs of victims were often ignored, “often in the misguided attempt to protect the reputation of the [Catholic] Church”. He apologised for the “terrible deed that have been inflicted on so many by a small minority of priests”.

Speaking on Highland Radio this morning, the Bishop said that he believed the diocese could have the highest levels of allegations against priests in the country.

He said that he will be making “added efforts” to get in contact with survivors of abuse in the diocese who wanted apologies or counselling.

The report was conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, which was set up in the wake of the myriad child abuse scandals.

The report had originally been due to be published in August but was delayed when the head of the investigation asked for additional time to seek more information from Catholic authorities.

The board is reviewing every diocese in the country to examine how Catholic authorities dealt with allegations against priests.

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