Time for a clerical child abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland

Fr Brendan Smyth

Momentum is building for an inquiry into clerical child abuse in Northern Ireland.

With four inquiries now completed south of the border – Ferns, Ryan, Dublin and now Cloyne – northern abuse victims are rightly asking: what about us?

Their calls have now been echoed by SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness:

I absolutely believe there should be the same thorough investigations in the northern dioceses as there have been in previous dioceses in the south.

We cannot north of the border view ourselves as being in the clear from all that happened in the south whenever I think many of us now know instinctively that that’s not the case.

What is this all about? This is about the protection of innocent children and there is a duty and a responsibility on all of us who are in important positions.

There is no doubt that there have been incidents of abuse – and cover-up by the hierarchy – every bit as serious in Northern Ireland as in the Republic. Even today, the very words ‘Fr Brendan Smyth’ send shivers of revulsion and fear down the spines of those who encountered him and others who recount near misses during the paedophile priest’s time in Belfast and elsewhere.

In 2010 Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Seán Brady, admitted that in 1975 he witnessed two boys, aged 10 and 14, sign oaths of silence after testifying in a Church inquiry against Smyth. It is clear that Brady’s actions helped ensure that Smyth was able to continue his prolific rape and abuse of children unabated for another 16 years until his eventual arrest.

With the Executive already committed to the establishment of an inquiry into historic institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland (following a vigorous campaign by survivors) – we should have an announcement on that in the early Autumn – it is now time for political leadership to address the reality of clerical child abuse here. We should also be clear that, in the case of clerical abuse, we are not necessarily simply talking about historic abuses. The Cloyne inquiry covered cases of abuse, and shameful malpractice in failure to report such cases to the authorities, in the diocese as recently as 2008.

Judge Murphy found that in the 12 years between 1996 and 2008, nine out of 15 complaints of abuse which should have been reported to Gardaí, were not reported.

As Minster for Children Frances Fitzgerald put it:

That’s very nearly two thirds of complaints un-reported, un-investigated and un-prosecuted.

For complaints which should have been reported to the health authorities the figures are even more stark; between 1996 and 2008 not one single complaint was reported. Not one.

Of course, while civil law in Northern Ireland may be different to that in the Republic of Ireland, Catholic canon law is not.

The Vatican has responsibility for the governance of dioceses and the oversight of bishops on both sides of the border. The Vatican itself has failed to be properly accountable for its compliance with legally binding obligations as a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As reported by Amnesty International, The Holy See was due to report on compliance with the convention in 1997. Fourteen years on, it has still failed to do so.

Until very recently the Vatican has made it clear to bishops that they should not report offending priests to the civil authorities – the Cloyne report tells how the Vatican described Irish church guidelines, which required that cases be so reported, as “a study document”. They made it clear that they did not support or require the prompt reporting of allegations of the rape and abuse of children to the civil authorities. The Newry-born Bishop of Cloyne and his delegate, Msgr Denis O’Callaghan, seem to have taken great comfort from that position and accordingly acted to protect the Church rather than children.

So, have clergy and religious in dioceses in Northern Ireland been in full compliance with the law here or have they been following orders from Rome?

As Taoiseach Enda Kenny put it this week:

The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or by a collar.

Is this also true in Northern Ireland? An independent inquiry will help answer that question.

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  • ranger1640

    Please take this in the spirit in which it is given.

    I genuinely feel compassion and sorrow for all the victims of clerical and institutionalized child abuse, not only in Ireland but all over the world.

    Unknown to me until recently a gentleman (he is now retired but still is a great gentleman) I worked with had been the victim of this abuse. It was not until then, when I knew someone that went through this grizzly situation that it struck home to me how terrifying his early life must have been, this when I heard his testimony on TV.

    The moves by the Irish government to make the confession box open to criminal law is a good move. The Roman Catholic Church indeed all churches need to be told in no uncertain terms. That although they may think they have a higher power to answer too. While they walk among us they will fell the power of the state in any of their wrong doings and there is no special place in the state for them.

    I am not that religious however, I think we need to reflect on the 1 in 4 friends, the anonymous men and women and in many cases colleges. Who have went through this horror in silence and shame. I hope they can come to terms with the issues they have had to endure.

  • south_down

    Who should pay for this inquiry?

    Pretty obviously it should be the Catholic Church that pays, and not the taxpayer.

    And then they should pay the compensation too.

  • Heres a radio show I co produced on “Church and State: How they made society silent”

    Radio Solidarity explores the recent rupture between people and the Irish Catholic Church due to the recent turmoil and revelations which have been exposed.

    We talk to Diarmuid Ferritter on the very singular role that the Church played in moulding and dealing with Social Policy from the start of the State.

    Mary McAuliffe from the organisation Justice For Magdalenes speaks about the extent that the State and the Church were complicit in the brutalisation and enslavement of generations of young women.

    Mark heads out onto the streets with a microphone to find out how people feel about the church in the light of recent scandal and cover-ups. The subsidiary role allotted to women in Irish society thanks to the Church is illustrated and spoken about by Dr. Helen Keyes and Mannix Flynn about how he feels we can best move on as a society

    As anarchists we encourage the free sharing of info . Additional interviews, materials etc can be found at http://radio-solidarity.wsm.ie

  • Taoiseach

    Pardon my cynicism but this has all come along at a nice time to distract from the problems facing the Government. There is a lot of bluster about “no one being beyond the law of the land” etc. Here is the reality. The judicial system has three elements to determine and assess guilt – the police, the DPP and the courts. Result after Cloyne inquiry – one person with sufficient evidence for the DPP to take any action. Some of the cases were ridiculous. A bishop investigated for hugging a potential seminarian, a sacristan who thought a priest look flustered.

    Now the proposed legislation on mandatory reporting. It will be dead law, impossible to make a case as the DPP will have to prove the person knew or believed (the first test) that someone had committed an arrestable offence (the second test) that could lead to sentencing of five years or more (the third test – and very difficult to prove of someone with no legal training) and failed to report without reasonable excuse (the fourth test). The fourth test will present all sorts of possibilities as to what’s reasonable and that’s where you’ll get arguments about spousal privilege, doctors, journalists and seal of confession.

    And then to cap it all “reasonable” includes if the alleged victim says they don’t want it reported. So the government’s proposed legislation actually drags us back to the situation where Mandy goes to the bishop. “Fr X molested me”. “I’ll call the police” says the good bishop, mindful of the new legislation and Children First and the Church’s policy. “No” says Mandy “I don’t want it disclosed, I just want you to fix it and under the legislation you don’t have to report it if I don’t want it disclosed and legal experts are suggesting that because of that you can’t actually disclose it if I say I don’t want you to. Can I have another biscuit?”

    Meanwhile the 99% of abuse that has nothing to do with priests goes on its merry way with no investigations, being covered up in families, clubs, schools and everywhere else.

  • Blissett

    ‘Even today, the very words ‘Fr Brendan Smyth’ send shivers of revulsion and fear down the spines of those who encountered him and others who recount near misses during the paedophile priest’s time in Belfast and elsewhere.’

    Quite so, but in particular, there is something deeply unsettling and menacing about that picture. It alone would cause a shiver to run down your back.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “The law of the land should not be stopped by crosier, or by collar” .

    Well said Enda lad. it’s a decent if desperately overdue and – for my taste – understated hint of commonsense but it’s missing something vital. It does not dilute the contempt in which the church is/should now held by right-thinking people everywhere or in any way deflect any of its institutional responsibility in these matters to say that the underlying scandal of this – particularly in relationship to the longer term horror of the neglect of the victims – is attributable very directly to the church’s relationship to and role within the institutions of the Irish state. A self-respecting republic will – or should – insist on a permanent end to it with immediate effect.

  • Taoiseach

    Of course it’s a bit rich to be getting lectures on child abuse from the head of Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, a group that now actively campaigns to legalise the killing of children in the womb.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Content to cruise along Ad Hominem Avenue rather than addressing the criticism, right ? Inference duly noted.

  • Taoiseach

    I don’t think pointing out the incongruous positions of someone is an ad hominem attack. People have their own agendas and are happy to exploit situations to suit. That photograph of Brendan Smyth, for example, is regularly produced because it’s an effective way to darken an already dark subject. It helps to dehumanise the abusers – stops us remembering they are our husbands, brothers, mothers, uncles and friends.

  • Nunoftheabove


    They might be yours but they aren’t mine. The abusers have done the dehumanizing themselves so it’s hardly character assassination, their characters committed suicide the moment they commenced their brutal rapes of young vulnerable innocent children.

    In the context of this thread that’s textbook ad hominem and please don’t insult the vaguely intelligent among us by pretending otherwise. How dare you suggest that decent people are exploiting this situation to suit any agenda other than human justice and truth, have you any idea how revolting that position is to people of ordinary human morality ?

    I’ll tell you something else, if you think that that photograph of the appalling cleric Smyth darkens this subject in any respect I can only assume – and hope – that you’ve not read the horrific details of what he and a large number of his colleagues were responsible for. How you could possibly say that having read the details… I would personally find that really quite chilling.

  • Zig70

    There are two problems, people who attack kids, in this case priests and people who use their intellect to protect the church in spite of the effect on the children. The so called greater good. Both are to be despised. To me it points to the practice of celibacy being flawed. Not so much that you need sex to be of sound mind but that the haven the priesthood provides for the sexually deviant has nurtured the problem. Haven in that they can repress their desires and remain in God. I really feel sorry for the priests that aren’t afflicted and hurt by the stigma but I’m not convinced all the protectionists have got the message and would welcome an inquiry. I half expected to see messages posted from those who only use the topic as a political football and there are none I see, so respect to those itchy fingers.

  • ulsterobserver

    Way past the time for clerical child abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Zig – your statement about celibacy would be fine if it was true, deviants are attracted to many professions, such a Church of Ireland priesthood, boxing trainers and and swimming coaches for example as well as the catholic priesthood.

    I think that we all need to take stock of the words of Enda Kenny about collars and croziers, the enquiry should not be limited to Catholic institutions or it will repeat the injustice visited on children in the Republic. Let us have an enquiry into child abuse period. Churches, clubs and societies, the health boards et al. Let us get the truth out of all these organisations and root out the guilty wherever and whoever they are.

  • Good luck with your clerical abuse inquiry. The following are the results of SEVEN in the Republic since 1999 approx

    (1) There was a Garda investigation into child abuse at Artane Industrial school in Dublin that involved up to ten Gardai for three years – up to 2002. As a result ONE Christian Brother was convicted of indecent assault.

    (2) There was a similar investigation for years re Letterfrack Industrial school in Galway. This also resulted in one conviction though for the more serious crime of buggery.

    (3) There was a concurrent investigation lasting years into allegations that children had been MURDERED in Letterfrack. The Garda Superintendent announced that NO evidence had been found to support this.

    (4) There was an investigation into alleged criminal negligence by senior Church officials in Dublin Archdiocese – again involving several Gardai for years – until about 2003. NO criminal charges resulted. .

    (5)There was a similar Garda investigation into claims that Bishop John Magee of Cloyne was guilty of criminal negligence. The DPP directed in 2010 that no charges be brought.

    (6) There was a Garda investigation in 2010 into claims that the Church had interfered in an investigation into the murder of a child Bernadette Connolly in 1970. The then Minister for Justice informed Deputy Alan Shatter last year that no evidence of any such interference was found. (Deputy Shatter is now Minister for Justice and generating hysteria himself).

    (7) Following the Report of the Murphy Commission into the Dublin Archdiocese in November 2009, there was a FURTHER Garda investigation into Dublin. This has not yet been completed but no charges have been brought. Since this seems to be a repeat of no (4) above, I would be surprised if there are any.


    Further to the above, people may say – but what about the Ferns Report, the Ryan Report, the Murphy Report, . Did these not reveal evidence of dreadful crimes? These were investigations by Government Commissions NOT criminal investigations by the Gardai that could result in a conviction.

    You will note in paragraph (1) above, that ten Gardai took three years (1999 to 2002) to get one man convicted of an indecent assault committed 40 years previously. Any police force anywhere in the world could spend 30 man-years investigating ANY long-established institution and come up with at least one conviction. The reason most do not do this, is because it is a waste of police resources.

    Every one of the Garda investigations above was the result of allegations made to the various Commissions set up by the Government. While the Commissions cannot bring criminal charges, they can whip up public hysteria and create a demand for useless police investigations – into child murder claims for example. The police involved would be better employed chasing child abusers today. However Northern Ireland seems set to go the same route. Of course the PSNI have time on their hands and nothing better to do!

  • Drumlins Rock

    It would be strange to pursue certain crime of the past while on the other hand turning a blind eye to even more serious ones, however some sort of inquiry is needed even just to set some sort of boundaries on what went on, be it small or large scale.

  • tacapall

    “It would be strange to pursue certain crime of the past while on the other hand turning a blind eye to even more serious ones”.

    Its not only priests that have abused children its a case of people in power abusing children, it is tragic that as we are entering the 21st century there are some people who although elected to positions of power still have the mentality of cavemen.

    The Conservative Party (Tories):

    Tory Party General election candidate, Michael Powell – Convicted and jailed for 3 years for downloading hardcore child porn.

    Tory Party Councillor (Wickbar/Bristol) Roger Talboys – Convicted and jailed for 6 years for multiple sex attacks on children.

    Tory Party MP (Billericay) Harvey Proctor – Stood trial for sex offences of a sado-masochistic nature against teenage boys, and was forced to resign.

    Tory Party Councillor ( Stratford-upon-Avon ) Christopher Pilkington – Convicted of downloading hardcore child porn on his PC. Placed on sex offenders register and forced to resign.

    Tory Party councillor ( Coventry ), Peter Stidworthy – Charged with indecent assault of a 15-year old boy.

    Tory Party Mayor ( North Tyneside ), Chris Morgan – Forced to resign after being arrested twice in 2 weeks, for indecent assault on a 15-year old girl, and for suspicion of downloading child porn.

    Tory Party Liaison Manager on the London Assembly, Douglas Campbell, who’s job includes running the Tory GLA website – Arrested for allegedly downloading child porn. He is currently suspended while the Police investigation continues.

    Tory Party Councillor (Folkestone – Michael Howard’s constituency), Robert Richdale – 41 year history of crime, involving 30 convictions and 5 prison sentences. Richdales enormous criminal record, which covers 10 pages of A4 paper, includes convictions for assault, theft, causing death by dangerous driving, forgery, drugs offences, possession of an offensive weapon, and sex attacks against underage schoolgirls. The Tory Party election campaign literature described Richdale as “a family man” who had a “compassionate personality”

    The Labour Party (NuLabour):

    Labour Councillor (Newton Aycliffe) Martin Locklyn – Convicted and jailed for 15 years for sexually abusing 3 14-year-old boys.

    Labour Councillor (North Lincolnshire) David Spooner – Convicted and jailed for 1 year for masturbating in front of 2 young boys.

    Labour Mayor (Westhoughton/Lancashire) Nicholas Green – Convicted and jailed for 10 years for 3 rapes and 13 counts of indecent assault against little girls between the age of 6 and 10. He raped one woman on her wedding day.

    Prominent Labour Party activist Mark Tann (who has met Tony & Cherie at Party functions) recently got a 15-year sentence for raping a 4-year old girl on 2 separate occasions.

    Entire Labour Party conspired to conceal the activities of Labour Party activist and serial child-molester Mark Trotter, who died from AIDS before he could be convicted.

    Labour Councillor (Manchester), George Harding – Charged with indecent assault on a girl of 12.
    The Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems):

    Lib-Dem Council candidate (Tower Hamlets), Justin Sillman – Convicted and jailed for 2 years for sexual abuse of young boys.

    Lib-Dem Councillor and Mayoral Candidate ( Sheffield ), Francis Butler – Prosecuted for indecent assault of a young boy.

    Lib-Dem Councillor ( Stockport ) Neil Derbyshire – Sexually assaulted a 16-year old boy in a public toilet. He was caught with a plastic bag containing lubricant, plastic surgical gloves, a condom, and underpants.

    Lib-Dem Councillor ( Preston ), Bill Chadwick – Charged with: Making an indecent photograph of a child, Incitement to rape, Incitement to murder, Incitement to kidnap, and Incitement to torture. Chadwick’s gay lover – Alan Valentine, is also a Lib-Dem councillor.

  • Toastedpuffin


    Are you suggesting that the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties conspired to cover up these instances of abuse?

  • hfmccloy

    The government have for years covered their own peado’s, the church at the moment are just a nice distraction.

    They don’t conspire they get away with it, they created secret courts where these cases of child abuse are heard, evidence given may be given on a balance of probabilities and the kiddy fiddlers get off.

    And to add Harriet harman says paedophilia is ok as long as it does not hurt the child

    Germany producing a handbook for parents which says “fathers do not spend enough time massaging the clitoris of their daughters”.

    A Danish one depicting that if your dad wont show you how to masturbate ask your uncle.

    The think tank demos have for years tried to desensitize child abuse, like they have with euthanasia, so that the public will accept it more readily.

    @tacapall I take it you go the same list i got there about child abusers in positions of power

  • Nunoftheabove

    Oh dear, I think that the fanatical lunatic Maskey has returned.

  • Thanks for the responses to date and the support various commenters have shown. I will attempt to reply to some of the key questions which some of you have put.

    south_down: ‘Who should pay for this inquiry?

    Ultimately, the State carries the obligation to investigate allegations of crimes committed within its borders, whoever the perpetrator might be. In the case of inquiries into institutional child abuse or clerical child abuse and any compensation due to the victims, it is right that – at least in the first instance – the State pays.

    Victims should not have to go cap in hand to the perpetrators or those institutions which shielded them. It seems right, however, that – should those institutions be found culpable – the State should then seek to recoup a significant proportion of those costs from the responsible organisations. In the case of institutions such as religious orders, many of which are very wealthy bodies with millions of pounds in assets, public moral pressure should be brought to bear.

    Taoiseach: ‘99% of abuse that has nothing to do with priests goes on its merry way with no investigations, being covered up in families, clubs, schools and everywhere else.’
    Coll Ciotach: ‘Let us have an enquiry into child abuse period. Churches, clubs and societies, the health boards et al.’

    You have a point, but investigation of normal allegations of crimes is the everyday job of the police. The qualitative difference with regards to institutional and clerical child abuse allegations is that, tragically, it has been shown that the Catholic Church and various religious orders have used their powerful position within society to systematically cover-up the crimes and to shield the criminals. Agents of the State, including the police – showing undue deference to the powerful institution – have also been found to be complicit in some of the cover-ups.

    We are not talking about abuse in the context of the local swimming club. This is abuse and cover-up in the context of perhaps the second most powerful institution in the State, only second to the State itself. Where State institutions – whether police, social services or others – also carry responsibility, that too should be exposed.

    Kilbarry1: ‘a waste of police resources’, etc

    Where there is a convincing allegation of the rape of a child or some other potential criminal offence, the victim has a right to have that investigated by the police. Of course, successful prosecutions for assaults, including sexual assaults, on children which have taken place years, perhaps decades previously, are notoriously difficult to secure.

    The fading of witness memories, the degradation or absence of physical evidence, and the near impossibility of proving a specific offence occured on a specific day many years ago, mean that it is extremely difficult for most such victims to secure justice through the courts.

    Most victims I have met are realistic enough to understand that. That is why an overall inquiry, which can set out the systemic responsibility as well as the individual abuse, is all the more important rather than less so to the victims of these crimes.

  • Taoiseach

    Patrick – simply repeating things doesn’t make them true. People have invented a category called “clerical child abuse” as if it’s a separate crime. It’s not – it’s sexual abuse the same as all others, it’s just that some people are more interested in it because it suits their agendas. So we get lectures on celibacy and insititutional power and the person abused by their family or the swimming instructor or dance teacher is told by the media – well you don’t count, your pain is worth less, because we can’t manipulate it to further our agenda. We won’t investigate the fact that teachers unions regularly cover up abuse by members, unless we decide maybe we can blame the priest chairman of the board of management – maybe we’ll take an interest then.

    What is the value of commissions but to lower the bar of evidential worth, and every accusation becomes treated by the media as if it were a proven crime. I’ve heard people saying, oh did you see that Cloyne report – 19 more paedophile priests including the bishop.

    People keep saying “the law of the land” well let the police, the DPP and the courts do their jobs – that’s the law of the land.

    If we’re looking for systemmatic cover ups, look no further that Planned Parenthood, Brook clinics etc where children regularly turn up and are given contraceptives with full knowledge that someone is illegally having sex with them. Of course if it turned out to be a priest that would be a crime – anyone else, well that’s okay.

  • carl marks


    You have tried to turn a thread about child abuse cover ups by church and government into a attack on women’s freedom of choice and the Brook clinic shame on you

  • Nunoftheabove


    carl marks is quite right. You obviously have no idea how obvious your cheap innuendo is or how revolingly inappropriate and pathetic it is either.

    That anyone here has an agenda here is in no doubt and their identity is no great mystery either.

  • Taoiseach

    The thread is about child abuse. I think I’m allowed to talk about child abuse in a thread on child abuse. If a parent goes to a bishop and says Fr X molested her child, well my first question would by, why go to a bishop to report a criminal matter instead of reporting it to the police. And then to express surprise later that nothing had been done. If the bishop failed to act then even more so the parent.

    As for Brooks etc – there is no innuendo involved. It’s a simple matter of fact. These people give out contraceptives to children who are too young in law to consent to sex. Explain to me how providing contraception to children too young by law to consent to having sex without reporting it to the police is somehow a fine and noble exercise in women’s rights.

    Imagine if a woman brought her daugter to a bishop and said, she’s having sex with the local priest and the bishop says, right, read this leaflet about STDs and here’s some condoms. What would the commission say about? What outrage and foaming by the media would ensue? Well that’s what happens every day in clinics across the land. And if you can’t see the relevance or the connectedness with the thread, well you’re intellectually or wilfully blind.

  • hfmccloy

    If Truth be told females account for the vast majority of all child abusers across all child abuse categories, that’s fact world wide for the developed world. And that is not counting the unrecognised emotional abuse that takes place from removing fathers from childrens lives.

    abuse be it sexual, physical, emotional all leave scars and this drive for a investigation into clerical abuse is sickening as there are thousands of other children who have been abuse by the state , by civil servants who are being ignored.

    clerical abuse is no different than any other type of abuse inflicted on children

  • Mrs jones

    Twenty Years Of Child Abuse And They Paid him 10 Grand-The Beast of Ballyfermot-

    19.5 Fr Walsh’s first appointment was to Ballyfermot parish in July 1978. Two days after his appointment a complaint was received at Archbishop’s House that he had sexually abused an eight-year-old boy. The abuse was alleged to have taken place within the previous month at the house of the aforementioned Fr Noel Reynolds. The parents of the boy concerned informed a priest about the alleged abuse. He in turn spoke to Archbishop Ryan’s secretary. A note on the file to the Archbishop in July 1978 refers to a “homosexual incident involving a young lad … and a newly ordained Dublin diocesan priest”. The Archbishop asked a vicar general, Monsignor Glennon, to investigate the matter.

    19.6 It was noted by the priest to whom the complaint was made that “the parents are most responsible people and there is no danger of publicity”. The Archdiocese made no response to the boy’s parents nor, indeed, to the priest to whom the complaint was made.

    19.34 In May 1988, ten years after the first complaint was made to the Archdiocese, the Archbishop and the auxiliary bishops decided to send Fr Walsh to Stroud for treatment. He was removed from his position in Westland Row in June 1988.


    19.90 Meanwhile, a complaint of sexual assault was made to the Gardaí. In May 1994, a young boy complained to the Gardaí in Ballyfermot that he had been sexually assaulted by Fr Walsh in the toilet of a pub following the funeral of the boy’s grandfather. The family alleged that a similar incident had happened a year earlier but they did not report it at the time. The Gardaí contacted Monsignor Stenson. Fr Walsh attended the garda station and declined to answer any questions. The Gardaí told Monsignor Stenson of their intention to arrest Fr Walsh. They also told him that they were in the process of “linking of various skeletons” and that press were “sniffing out a story”. Fr Walsh denied the allegation.

    19.105 From July 1996, the Archdiocese no longer regarded Walsh as entitled to receive remuneration in the normal way. He was awarded £10,500 in severance pay

    19.122 Between 2002 and 2006, over 20 further individuals alleged that they were abused by Walsh.

  • Patrick
    “Of course, successful prosecutions for assaults, including sexual assaults, on children which have taken place years, perhaps decades previously, are notoriously difficult to secure.”

    Indeed and that it why there used to be a Statute of Limitations (either in law or in practice) for all crimes except murder. It was considered a waste of police resources to try to investigate allegations where no forensic evidence was available and witnesses – and even the alleged perpetrator – were dead or unavailable for questioning. Then they changed the law in relation to child sexual abuse with the preposterous results we see.

    In my previous post I wrote about SEVEN Garda investigations since 1999 which resulted in few or no convictions. There are in fact NINE. I had forgotten one and the Cloyne Report has now spawned another.

    (8) From an article in TheJournal.ie on 30 May last:
    “It has emerged that no one has yet been prosecuted two years on from the publication of the Ryan report into child abuse in residential institutions in Ireland. In a written submission to the United Nations Committee on Torture, which heard oral evidence from the Department of Justice last week, the government says that 11 files have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions, reports the Irish Times.

    In the 11 cases the DPP has directed no prosecution in eight cases and a decision on three others is still pending.”

    (9) Apparantly there is going to be a Garda investigation into the actions of Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan as a result of the Cloyne Report. As I pointed out in No (5) above, there has already been a Garda investigation into claims that Bishop Magee was guilty of criminal negligence and the DPP directed in 2010 that NO charges be brought.

    I also pointed out that the ongoing investigation no (7) into senior prelates of the Dublin Archdiocese seems to be a repeat of No (4) which concluded in 2003 that they had broken no laws.

    Every time one of these Commissions publishes its report, there is media hysteria and demands that the Government “do something”. So the Government take the easy way out and order the Gardai to start another investigation – even if the job was done the year before! The same thing will no doubt happen in Northern Ireland where the PSNI have obviously got nothing better to do.

  • Taoiseach

    David Quinn’s article from Friday is of interest, comparing the media interest in Catholic abuse with its lack of interest in State abuse. http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/david-quinn-where-is-the-media-frenzy-when-the-state-fails-children-2822335.html

  • carl marks

    firstly this is a thread on clerical child abuse and bringng the brook clinic into this is a distraction i am more than willing to discuss the clinic but not in this thread.your point
    “If a parent goes to a bishop and says Fr X molested her child, well my first question would by, why go to a bishop to report a criminal matter instead of reporting it to the police. And then to express surprise later that nothing had been done. If the bishop failed to act then even more so the parent.”
    your point ignores the power and respect (even fear) that bshops were held in. the fact that they abused such a positon to protect child abusers and also to potect the reputation of the church which is meant to serve the people is disgraceful in the extreme. so like i said if you want to discuss the morality or practices of the brook clinic im your man but not as a diversion on this thread

  • Taoiseach

    Carl, are you the thread police who can decide that a thread may discuss only one aspect of sexual abuse? You keep saying it’s about “clerical child abuse” – I contend there is no such thing as “clerical child abuse” – there’s just child abuse.

    Regarding the point you make about power and respect – well as everyone keeps saying, the Cloyne report is about actions in the last ten years – well after everyone was aware of Brendan Smyth and others – so if a bishop can’t use the excuse that “things were different in those days”, how can a parent?

  • carl marks

    no i am not the thread police but please look at the title of the thread
    the difference between parent’s and bishop in this case is quite simple, firstly the church leadership like the leadership of any large group is Responsible for the actions of it empolyees whilst they are carrying out the duties tasked to them by that group,
    that some priest’s (and i mean some) abused children whilst carrying out there duties is a repulsive thing, that the leadership covered it up is perhaps worse in so much as this coverup allowed the abusers to carry on in the knowledge that they will be protected by what are in effect their line managers. this is made even worse by the fact that these people are supposed to be the moral and religious leaders of the flock.
    As to the parents i doubt that any of them were aware that individual who they intrusted the care of their children to was under suspicion of abusing children the same in many cases cannot be said of the bishops.
    I say all this with great sorrow as someone brought up as a catholic and having known many fine priest’s both before and after i left the church i take no pleasure in this debate

  • Nunoftheabove


    Yes there is such a thing and your attempts to pretend otherwise are unpersuasive in the least and your motivation couldn’t be any more transparent.

    • The unique position of trust and the wholesale abuse of that trust differentiates the church for a start;

    • The abject hypocrisy of these characters on sexual morality – bearing in mind the sexual stultification they wish to continue to impose on anyone (whether actually catholic or not) – plus the hundreds of years of sexual guilt and shame they’re brought down upon the laity, generation of generation.

    • The all-encompassing role of the church within this and many other states (constitutionally, educationally, health-wise etc)

    • The truly chillingly sinister nature of the extent of the cover up of these events to the very highest levels within one of the largest and most powerful institutions in the world.

    One isolated incidence of child rape is not necessarily any more or any less traumatic than another, the degree of criminality may be much the same. Where it is systematic and of such a scale with such an obviously collusive element to it then it cannot be considered as just a series of unrelated and regrettable incidents of child rape. There’s a pattern to this and very very large scale issues at stake other than the individual incidents of child rape themselves as you know perfectly well.

    And now you’re seeking in effect to blame the parents of the child victims of this revolting predatory rapists on the grounds that they ‘should have known better’ too ?!

  • hfmccloy

    That article sums up the entire comments on this thread but yet they argue, not for the sake of children but for the sake of arguing.

    You can litigate what the above came out with in a court of law, I have enough experience that.

    I would only guess that there is a few left wing persons out there so desperate to try and claim some moral high ground, claim some sort of victory and are going to try and invent clerical abuse on children to get it, while at the same time their self driven ideologies prevent them from going against the state and civil servants who are abusing children every bit as much if not more than priests.

    The biggest question is why would any group of people proposing to seek justice invent child abuse definitions?

  • carl marks

    Are you seriously suggesting that all the people coming forward with these horrible stories are part of a left wing plot and they have managed to get in the records of the catholic church and planted false info to back up there lies. I think you’re the one with an agenda here

  • pippakin

    Just when you think it couldn’t get worse along comes Cloyne dragged kicking and screaming into the light. It became the home of one of the most notorious paedophiles protected by the RCC. The bishop who protected the perverts worthless arse also served no less than three popes. My he must have been busy. There is no need for any group, party or individual to invent or colour the criminal hypocrisy of the church. You simply could not make it up.

    Of course there should be a full investigation into child abuse by religious institutions in the north and the costs should be born by the churches.

  • hfmccloy

    No i dont, its being in part hijacked for lack of a better word and your namesakes ideology the abolition of the family and religion probably defines your need to define clerical abuse above all others, much like you posted earlier about women’s freedom.

    I probably have an advantage over you in this area in that I am practically involved in litigating child abuse cases and research child abuse in the UK and Ireland.

    Child abuse is child abuse and one major failing in this thread is that is was the government who had a duty of care to ensure any residential home a child was placed in was regulated and monitored.

  • carl marks

    We are dealing with a thread on the appalling history of the catholic church in not only child abuse but in covering it up and permitting the abuser’s to carry on with their evil deeds you for some reason wish to bury this perhaps to protect the church,
    My support of women’s rights is nothing to do with this thread and i will gladly discuss it in another thread but will not be deflected from the point of this one no matter how much it suits your agenda. I am equally angry about state abuse of children and n doubt the state both north and south have questions to answer on this matter place your evidence and we will discuss it.
    To state that my only interest in this is to follow a left wing plot to discredit the church and that somehow i fear to have a go at the state is quite frankly ridicullis.
    I assume that you are a catholic or Christian of some type (if i am wrong i apologise ) perhaps here is something you should consider Jesus once referred to children saying “what you do to the least of these you do to me” your holy book not mine but i seem to agree with those sentiments more than you since you leap to the defence of the abusers by trying to muddy the waters.

  • hfmccloy

    The catholic church is a small player is a world of child abuse, and while forums and threads of this type will rumble on and hope to derive popular support, it is people like me who are there the pick up the pieces and build legal cases for all vicitms of child abuse.

    In child abuse by in large mothers top the list of child abusers across all definitions, which has nothing to do with women’s freedoms as not all women are mothers, and where is the outcry where is the hunt for justice for these children.

    We can quote the bible or or ideologies but we have to take them for what they are written words with very little practical relevance, but I would say you hold more practical views on your bible than I do.

    Now if you can see where i jumped to defend an abuser you will be a good one as for me every government worker who turned a blind eye , every priest who committed a crime and every parent who knowingly sent their child to a institution where they were likely to be abused should have the full weight of the law levelled on them.

    But as we live in a world driven by media justice rather than social jusitce the hundreds of children currently being abused and snatched by the state as we speak left in the hands of their abusers.

    There has not been one constructive comment from yourself on this area, a serial complainer rather than a hands on helper, how is that helping anyone current or historically, shame on you

  • carl marks

    by the way it was Taoiseach who brought up abortion not me i merely pointed out it had nothing to do with this thread and was just a attempt to distract as i believe your bringing womens rights and the family (as if they were mutually exclusive)

  • carl marks

    you seem to know a lot about me. i dont see any constructive comments from you apart to claim that the church is not as much to blame in child abuse than women can you prove your claims rather than throwing out wild statements remember this thread is about church abuse and ctims of that abuse may be reading it and for you to trivilise there suffering and twist the the facts is really quite offensive calling me a serial complainer for pointing out facts is just weird shame on you

  • hfmccloy

    I don’t know nor probably will know you and the very fact that you are so well read on child abuse but ignorant to the point you need everything pointed sort of complies with what I said earlier, serial complainer.

    I’ve got a idea for you, lets have a protest, as it looks like the only help you could give but then that’s not really helping as its a court room where these abusers will be dealt with and will be

    Yes vicitms of child abuse from the church most likely will be reading it and I would be sure from personal experience in talking to some victims they want justice for all abused children, and are aware that the state covered their abused as well as the church.

    Now do you have anything constructive about helping these vicitms, have you helped these vicitms? i would say the answer is no, but you can talk about it no doubt and all the talking in the world will not change the fact that The most prolific cover up of child abuse has and always will be done by the government.

  • carl marks

    im still waiting for your suggestions for helping the people who have been abused, now since you seen to know my type so well perhaps you could tell me the last protest i was on (cant remember myself think it was a peace rally at belfast city hall) no one here has denied that there is abuse covered up by the state but as i pointed to that other apoligist for the church Taoiseach this thread is about weither we should have a inquiry into clerical child abuse could i suggest that either as i asked for you to produce your facts for the rather amazing claim that women are responsible for most child abuse in the world and stop the personal attacks (normnally the sign of a lost argument) or i will not engage with you again as it distracts this debate away from the very important point

  • Nunoftheabove

    carl marks

    I have a suspicion that this character is in fact the punter who used to travel under the name ‘alan maskey’, among others (‘Los Leandros’ etc), who was repeatedly booted from the site and as far as I recall, mercifully permanently ejected. Just trust me, it’s not worth the engery exchanging with him/her, assuming that is the case – a rabidly pro-clerical, obsessiveley anti-homosexual crank who descends to foul levels of ad hominem attack and whose posts are characterized by plain untruth and conspiracies so feverish that most family pets would groan at them. And those are just the more readable ones.

  • SK

    “It helps to dehumanise the abusers – stops us remembering they are our husbands, brothers, mothers, uncles and friends”


    They dehumanise themselves.

    Hang them by their rosary beads.

  • Greenflag

    What’s clear from the Cloyne report is that despite the revelations of widespread abuse by some members of the clergy over the past decades the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland continued to protect those who ought to have been arrested and jailed for crimes against children .

    The words of apology made public by members of the Irish hierarchy must now ring very hollow to the ears of those Irish Catholics who wanted to believe their ‘spiritual ‘leaders .

    I hope the Northern Ireland authorities follow up with an enquiry of their own to ensure that the facts of abuse by the Church’s clerics in NI are publicly recorded .

    It seems that the RC Church like many other powerful institutions does not give up it’s powers of it’s own accord even if such powers have been used to cover up criminal activity .

    The Irish hierarchy are irreformable -Those Irish Catholics who still wish to place their faith in religion should look elsewhere for spiritual comfort if thats the word. For those who have already left the Church the Cloyne Report is just confirmation that they made the right decision .

    RC church apologists above such as taoiseach, carl marks, and hfmmccloy are the usual ‘diversionists’ formerly under different names who in typical hypocritical fashion try to defuse the Irish Hierarchy’s corruption by blaming the Government . This is nothing other than the excuse – I did what I did because the government (the Vatican State ) said nothing and did less .

    They ignore the fact that the Catholic Church by virtue of it’s Canon Law considers itself a government unto itself which is why it chooses to have it’s own State and can ignore the civil authorities whenever it believes its in it’s interest.

    Nunabove’s comment

    ‘The truly chillingly sinister nature of the extent of the cover up of these events to the very highest levels within one of the largest and most powerful institutions in the world.

    says it all .

  • carl marks

    Greenflag says
    “RC church apologists above such as taoiseach, carl marks, and hfmmccloy are the usual ‘diversionists”
    where have i been a apoligist for the RC church or anyone for that matter i believe i hav ben the oppisite perhps you should read my post before throwing untrue Allegations about

  • carl marks

    also greenflag when have i posted under a different name

  • Greenflag


    did you forget to turn on your spell checker ?

    ‘ i believe i hav ben the oppisite perhps ‘

    oppisite of what ? If you believe why the perhps ? That sounds uncertain , contrived and troll like – I suggest you follow SK’s advice to the Catholic hierarchy re a more optimal use of the ‘rosary beads ‘

    Now pis auf

  • carl marks

    again read my posts and have the manners to admit your wrong

  • carl marks

    slugger is greenlags posts not worthy of a carding

  • carl marks


    Your opinion would be treated with some respect if you had bothered to read the posts you commented on as it is you have attempted to turn a discussion on clerical child abuse into a anti catholic rant this does the debate no good at all, ranger 1640 and ulsterobserver both made posts that added to the debate even through it I think would be fair to say that they are not fans of the RC church you on the other hand jumped in feet first without checking your facts and when your mistake was pointed out to you it would seem that rather than admit your error you chose to be rude.
    By the way the perhaps thing was a politeness to let you apologise without losing too much face but alas you chose another route

  • carl marks

    SK (profile) says:
    19 July 2011 at 9:43 am

    “Hang them by their rosary beads.”
    the averege set of rosary does not have the needed tensile strenght may i suggest a Imaginative use of a crozier.

  • I’d hang them by their ballaxi (?)

  • carl marks

    i have reconsidered my crozier ides as you should do the same with your idea there no telling what these creatures regard as fun

  • wee buns

    Ship. Mid Atlantic. Detonate.
    That exchange between carlmarx and thewierdtroll would have raised the hairs on manys a peoples neck and even more so because of a complete lack of punctuation

  • Carl…

    good point well made

  • carl marks

    Humour me please I suggest a straw poll on the way to deal with this problem, i will put forward a few ideas on tactics for the authorities to use to handle this bag of crap
    1 Each and every case of abuse investigated b a team such as het with abusers and those who enabled being charged
    2 a corporate case being taken against the catholic church to compensate the victim’s
    3 all government departments involve in handing children over to these people investigated to find out if they knew what was happening and those who did charged with the appropriate crimes
    Please add to these as you see fit or point out the failings of all or any

  • carl marks

    wee buns
    I apologise for my poor grammar (left school when i was 14 no excuse i know but there u have it) I would ask you to judge my post’s on their content not there grammar.

  • wee buns

    left school at 16 myself and not judging your posts on that but what a scary combination the nil punctuation like a runaway train crashes into the whole brook clinics issue how pathetic is that girls sex education gets dragged into clerical abuse and women being the biggest abusers according to defensive catholic trollface well that obviously unsubstantiated bullship but im beginning to wonder why everyone doesnt opt to write this way as its free-er but well done carlmarx for holding the ground of common sense and thats important genuinely meant

  • Greenflag

    ‘you on the other hand jumped in feet first without checking your facts ‘

    The facts surrounding the RC Church hierarchy’s manipulation and continuing failure to protect children under it’s care and instead to protect the abusers are well known and the Cloyne Report is just one of many in Ireland and hundreds worldwide which make clear the utter criminality of the RC Church Hierarchy in defending the indefensible .

    As for anti catholic rant . I’ll confess to being anti RC Church hierarchy and not solely anti catholic . As an atheist I don’t differentiate much between the various denominations save to note that I’ve never met a man of the cloth of any denomination that did’nt look more than a trifle well fed , housed comfortably and with a housekeeper or servant /servants to command – Shure yer man in Drumcondra lives in a palace .

    Fraudsters one and all for the most part and they get away with it because they can and because they scare the bejayzus out of little children from the earliest age with lurid promises of hell fire and damnation if they don’t become good Catholics and give the Church regular donations of cash to keep these parasites in the manner to which they have become accustomed .

    good evening Herr Maskey 😉 You’ll yet win an Oscar for multiple personality disorders 🙁

  • carl marks

    do me a favour read my post’s and then come back to me if you think i was on the side of the abuser’s

  • Greenflag

    I did’nt state you were on the side of the abusers .

  • carl marks

    i agree with all your saying, i am annoyed that you’re lumping me with those other two fools without even bothering reading what i said

  • carl marks


    this is from your post
    RC church apologists above such as taoiseach, carl marks, and hfmmccloy are the usual ‘diversionists’ formerly under different names.
    now show me were i acted as a apologist for the rc church

  • Greenflag

    The thread title is ‘Time for a clerical abuse enquiry in Northern Ireland ‘ and it’s imo past time . Of course child abuse everywhere is not restricted to those of the RC Church clergy persuasion but then those others who do committ such abuse if found and convicted suffer the consequences under the civil law .

    The issue is why were so many clergy able to get away with their crimes and what role the RC Church hierarchy played in that evil . An enquiry in NI will not reveal much of anything new but it will reinforce the will of both governments to stand up to the hierarchical bullies .

    Don’t be annoyed -remember old Chinese saying – Touch black paint -have black fingers.

    I’ll read your future comments with more precision . But try and be consistent in your use of spell checker or grammar correction as widely different appearing posts under the same name are liable to be seen as the work of a ‘troll ‘ even a deeply embedded or sleeper troll .

  • Greenflag

    BTW -the other unfailing signal is that ‘trolls of a feather troll together ‘ the old good cop -bad cop routine -which confuses the thread and can divert comments into cul de sacs of little or no relevance to the subject matter of the thread .

  • carl marks

    ill take that as a apology
    even if this bit seems strange
    Don’t be annoyed -remember old Chinese saying – Touch black paint -have black fingers.

    I’ll read your future comments with more precision . But try and be consistent in your use of spell checker or grammar correction as widely different appearing posts under the same name are liable to be seen as the work of a ‘troll ‘ even a deeply embedded or sleeper troll .
    but i wll take your advice about spell and grammer checker.

  • Greenflag


    Touch black paint -have black fingers or in sluggerese -beware of trolls.

    ‘but i wll take your advice about spell and grammer checker.’

    Indeed and I see you have got off to a great start 😉

  • Drumlins Rock

    Any word on the inquiry here?

    Will Brady be around to deal with it?

  • dwatch

    What I am wondering, would the BBC, the Nolan show, & all other media be so ganged up to force Brady to resign had he stayed a simple priest instead of becoming the head of the RC church in Ireland. It would be interesting to know how many practicing Catholics in the whole Island would want the Cardinal’s resignation because its obvious that he is still controlled by Papal infallibility and will only fall on his sword if requested to do so by Rome.