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Gardaí may have interviewed victim of paedophile priest as 'family favour'

A new GSOC report found that a statement might have been taken just to “appease the victim”.

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A REPORT BY the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in Cloyne has found evidence of failures on the part of gardaí.

However, GSOC is not recommending any disciplinary action as no offences appear to have been committed.

In 2011, the Cloyne Report outlined evidence that indicated gardaí did not act upon information they had in relation to complaints of sexual abuse in the Cork diocese.

A public interest investigation was opened by GSOC in March 2012 as a result.

In its report, GSOC focused on allegations of sexual abuse made by two victims against one priest.

The investigation found that in 1994 and 1996 one victim made allegations to a Catholic Bishop relating to being sexually abused by a Fr Corin in the late 1960s. These matters were referred to Macroom Garda Station in Cork, but there was a lack of further action.

A second victim made very similar allegations relating to the same priest to the Mid-Western Health Board. Gardaí from Henry Street in Limerick took a statement from her, but again there was no further action.

In this instance the statement was taken by a female garda, a process instigated at the request of a colleague who had since retired.

It has transpired that the victim was related by marriage to the garda who requested his colleague take the statement.

The report notes:

It appears that this action was unsanctioned and was not part of a formal investigation. So it is possible that it may simply have been an attempt to appease the victim, as a favour from one relation to another.

In any case, the victim’s statement cannot be located.

Failings

GSOC said the lack of further action was “mostly the result of a lack of adherence to procedures and processes”, adding: “There were also lapses in the creation and proper retention of documents.”

The report states: “There is no evidence that any matter investigated by GSOC may have constituted a criminal offence, but some actions may have justified disciplinary proceedings.”

It is also noted that these incidents “occurred many years ago”.

“There have been substantial recommendations by the Garda Inspectorate in relation to the investigation of child sexual abuse since then. Those recommendations, if followed, should mitigate the risk of a repeat of this unsatisfactory set of circumstances.”

Originally published: 14.07

Read: Priest dismissed over complaints of child sexual abuse

Read: New Bishop of Cloyne accepts appointment with ‘apprehension’

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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