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Jesuits start redress consultation for people abused by Joseph Marmion

Marmion was a teacher at Belvedere College in Dublin from 1969 until 1978.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH JESUITS have engaged two independent facilitators to “co-design restorative processes” for those impacted by the abuse of Joseph Marmion SJ.

The facilitators, Barbara Walshe and Catherine O’Connell, have “worked extensively both as practitioners and as academics in the advancement of restorative justice processes”, the Jesuits said in a statement.

Last month, the Order publicised the name of the former teacher, who is now deceased, to encourage people who may have suffered abuse to come forward.

The Order said that Marmion had “sexually, emotionally and physically” abused pupils at Belvedere College in Dublin in the 1970s.

Marmion was a teacher at Belvedere from 1969 until 1978. He died in 2000.

A spokesperson for the Jesuits confirmed to The Journal that, following the publication of the statement naming Marmion in March, “new information and allegations of abuse have been received by our Safeguarding Office”.

The spokesperson said the allegations are “distressing and disturbing”.

“All this information is reported to An Garda Siochana, Tusla, and other relevant authorities. We are profoundly sorry that people suffered abuse during their childhoods in our schools,” the statement noted.

The Journal has confirmed that the Garda National Protective Services Bureau is looking into the allegations.

The Order said disclosures of sexual abuse were received by the school from concerned parents in 1977. Marmion was then removed from Belvedere in 1978.

He spent a year on sabbatical in Paris with the Jesuit Community Saint Francois Xavier before being assigned to the Gardiner Street Jesuit Community.

In 1990, he was appointed chaplain to St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

“We recognise that these subsequent appointments should not have been made,” the Jesuit Order said last month.

‘Engaging with survivors’

In a statement released last night, the Jesuits said that Walshe and O’Connell “have worked extensively both as practitioners and as academics in the advancement of restorative justice processes”.

“They have worked in various contexts including with survivors of institutional abuse. Their starting point is a wish to engage directly with survivors, victims, and those who are impacted. Restorative processes have many different options to ensure that each person who wishes to participate is satisfied that it is safe to do so.”

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Irish Jesuit Provincial Leonard Moloney said that, by appointing the independent facilitators, the Order has “placed the direction and control of what happens next outside of [out control], whilst committing to do all that we can, as co-participants, to make the processes as effective as possible”.

“We are purposely not involved in creating a methodology. I know that if what happens from here is to achieve the outcomes people hope for, it must be led by the people who were abused and impacted by abuse,” Fr Moloney stated.

The Jesuits commit to the processes so that the full story of Jesuit knowledge, actions, and omissions will be told and that answers will be provided to all questions that have been brought forward on foot of the naming of Joseph Marmion.

“In our preparation for our participation, the knowledge of Jesuits who worked alongside Joseph Marmion in Belvedere, Clongowes, Crescent, Gardiner Street is being gathered and collated.

“Our determination is that the truth be told as far as is humanly possible, whilst also taking account of the personal privacy rights of the many people who have spoken to us of their abusive experiences and of others who have spoken of how they are impacted.

“Our first duty is towards those who are suffering. We believe the most appropriate means of fulfilling that duty is through these survivor-led processes,” he added.

The Jesuits are inviting people who have been impacted to contact the independent facilitators here.

The Jesuit Safeguarding Office is also getting in touch with people who have contacted it in recent weeks. If anyone is concerned about any issue of abuse they can contact the office by emailing safeguarding@jesuit.ie.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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