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Garda Ombudsman to investigate sex abuse complaints

The GSOC is to investigate the handling of complaints of sex abuse against a Fr Corin, about which concerns were raised in the Cloyne Report.

The Cloyne report covers a hoarding in Temple Bar, Dublin
The Cloyne report covers a hoarding in Temple Bar, Dublin
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE GARDA SÍOCHÁNA Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is to investigate how the gardaí handled a number of complaints of sex abuse as outlined in the Cloyne Report.

The GSOC made the announcement last night, saying that it has decided to open an investigation, under section 102(4) of the Garda Síochana Act 2005, into “certain matters arising from the Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne”.

It said that the matters arise from chapter 10 of the report and relate to garda behaviour. This includes concerns stated in the report about the gardaí involvement in the case involving a priest described as ‘Father Corin’.

The report said that an investigation was clearly not commenced into one case, and that the senior garda involved insists that an investigation did begin, but there is no evidence of this and no investigation files in existance.

…it has no doubt that there was no investigation even though there was a complaint.

In a second instance involving the same priest, there was again a concern that no proper investigation took place.

The female complainants were called ‘Nia’ and ‘Oifa’. They submitted their complaints in 1994 and 1996 respectively, but the alleged abuse had taken place decades previously.

Oifa said she was investigated by gardaí but the gardaí were unable to find the statement. No file was sent to the DPP about it.

The report states:

The Gardaí have insisted to the Commission that a file was opened and that an ‘investigation’ took place or was started into the complaints which were notified to them.  On balance, the Commission  does not accept that there was any proper Garda investigation of these complaints.

It also says that Nia did not make a complaint  to the Gardaí and, accordingly, there could not have been a garda investigation into her complaint of child sexual abuse.

Despite the then district officer’s assertions, there is no documentary evidence in Macroom garda station, or elsewhere, that a file was opened or that an investigation was started by Macroom Gardaí.

A statement was taken from Oifa, the second complainant, by Limerick Gardaí but “this seems to have vanished”.

The Commission has not received a satisfactory explanation from the Gardaí about the failure to retain an investigation file or to send a file to the DPP.   No one has been able to explain exactly what happened in Limerick, why a statement was taken and then nothing further  was done or what happened to the health board notification.

The Commission said in the report it was surprised that the Gardaí “persist in maintaining that there was an investigation of Nia’s allegations to the Church when she never made a formal complaint to the Gardaí”.

The Commission is concerned that no proper investigation of Oifa’s complaint took place and by the inability of the Gardaí to explain what happened.

The GSOC said it opened investigation “in the public interest”.

Read: Archbishop calls for “renewed” and “more humble” Catholic church>

Read: Government’s views on Vatican and Cloyne Report unchanged>

Read: No exceptions for priests in child abuse legislation>

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