Six abuse cases still pending in Clogher
Sarah Saunderson • Published 25 Apr 2013 13:00
There are currently six civil cases involving allegations of clerical child abuse pending in the Clogher diocese, the Bishop of Clogher the Very Rev. Liam MacDaid has said.
While the “vast majority are historical”, it has emerged that a most recent allegation came to light as recently as two years ago.
A report released yesterday (Wednesday) on behalf of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) draws “a line between the practice of this diocese today and some of the practice which existed previously”.
From cases examined, opportunities were consistently missed when concerns of abuse by clergy in the Clogher diocese were highlighted in the past, the Review of Safeguarding Practice states.
*In one particular case there was an unacceptable delay in taking action against a priest and removing him from all ministry, following receipt of a credible allegation.
*In another, a priest of the diocese was suspected of multiple incidents of abuse, but he was not moved from ministry, transferred to another parish and eventually was sent overseas for therapeutic help. He remained outside the jurisdiction and was eventually extradited back to this country several years later but died before he could be brought before the courts.
*In a number of cases, allegations emerged against priests following their death making it impossible for any investigation to take place.
“The impression formed by the reviewers of past practice was that the response to abuse concerns was often unsatisfactory and that risky behaviour was not addressed as strongly as it should have been,” the report said.
According to the BBC, former Bishop Joseph Duffy has accepted the criticism in the report. He said: “I am satisfied that the review acknowledges the effective child safeguarding structures and practice that operate in the diocese and which I, along with clergy and laity, spent many years developing in each of the parishes throughout Clogher.
“However, I accept the criticism in the review and regret that, in the past, the standard of managing some cases fell short of what is expected today.” Bishop Duffy was Bishop of Clogher between 1979 to May 2010.
Between 1975 and November 2012, there were 13 allegations made against priests incardinated into the Bishop of Clogher.
And there were 23 allegations reported to the police services over that period of time. There have been two convictions.
At a launch of the report in Monaghan yesterday, Bishop Liam MacDaid said: “We have had to face the pain and the shame of seeing children abused and seriously damaged and traumatised. The priests and the lay people you see here, along with many others, have been grieved and appalled at what has happened. They have generously given time and energy to give out help to those who are hurt and traumatised and set up structures to ensure this cannot happen again.
“I think we will find the report in general is a good news story. Further work is to be done. The report also points us in the right direction and we are determined to see it though,” he said.
The report looks at 48 different criteria set out by the NBSCCCI. Clogher Diocese has met fully 41 out of the 48, with seven partially met. The PSNI and Gardai and health services “have a good working relationship with the diocese”.
“It is clear that the issue of safeguarding children effectively is prioritised in this diocese,” said the report.
“One of the most striking parts of the fieldwork for the review was the opportunity to meet and engage with the volunteers, staff and priests of the diocese who are involved in safeguarding. Their enthusiasm is real and their commitment exceptional,” the report said. As well as a Diocesan safeguarding committee with 13 members, there are going to be five diocesan trainers by Autumn. Each parish has two parish trainers. There are 1,400 volunteers actively working in safeguarding children in Clogher parishes, north and south.