The Catholic hierarchy failed to step in and prevent ongoing child sex abuse by priests in a Northern Ireland diocese, one of seven internal church reports has admitted.
Irish Catholicism‘s National Board for Safeguarding Children found on Wednesday that there was “an unacceptable delay” in taking action against one priest after what it describes as “a credible allegation” in the Clogher diocese, which covers the border counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh as well as Cavan and Donegal in the Irish Republic.
Among the cases of system failure cited by the report is of a priest suspected of being a serial abuser who was not removed from the ministry but was instead first moved to another parish in the diocese and then sent overseas.
He was eventually extradited back to Ireland after several years but died before he could be brought before a court, the report concluded.
The report, which does not name any priest involved, says there were complaints against 13 clergy in the diocese over four decades. Two of the priests from Clogher were subsequently jailed.
The Clogher report is the latest in a long line of damning investigations both within the Irish Catholic church and by independent judges that have exposed decades of abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests and other clergy of children across Ireland.
All of the National Board for Safeguarding Children’s reports into Irish Catholic dioceses were carried out within the church and do not name any priests accused of child sex abuse.