10 Nov 2010

Crucial chapter in report on Dublin clergy abuse critical of State role in abuse may be withheld from public for years

The Irish Times - November 7, 2009

Full publication of clerical child sex abuse report may take years

PATSY McGARRY | Irish Times Religious Affairs Correspondent

THE PUBLICATION of a crucial chapter in the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation could be delayed by years, according to well-informed sources.

The chapter is understood to be significant because it deals with shortcomings in how the State and the Garda Síochána dealt with allegations of clerical child sex abuse in Dublin, including the case of a priest alleged to have committed a large number of offences.

Sources emphasised the absence of this chapter would, in their view, render the report skewed and unbalanced as it is “by far the longest, at approximately 60 pages, and one of the most important” chapters.

The full report, which makes findings on the handling of clerical child abuse allegations by church and civil authorities in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin, was presented to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern last July.

The report was cleared for publication, with some edits, by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan on October 15th. However, the day after the High Court ruling, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) raised new concerns with the Department of Justice that publishing the report could jeopardise legal proceedings against the priest.

It was referred back to the High Court on October 21st by the Minister for Justice, following these fresh concerns on the part of the DPP.

Mr Justice Gilligan heard legal submissions on this latest matter, in camera, on October 29th. He has yet to announce his decision.

The relevant chapter is highly critical of the Garda and other civil authorities in their handling of clerical child abuse allegations during the relevant period.

In spring of this year, the day before the DPP gave evidence to a hearing of the commission, a decision was taken to initiate extradition proceedings against the priest on foot of allegations received 20 years previously.

This is the case which, it is understood, prompted the DPP on October 16th last to raise his concerns about the report as cleared for publication by Mr Justice Gilligan the previous day.

Well-informed sources also highlighted the fact that should extradition proceedings go ahead in the case, these would most likely be resisted. This could mean, in the jurisdiction concerned, that it could be years before an outcome.

The Dublin report followed an inquiry by the Commission of Investigation Dublin Archdiocese which began in March 2006 and looked at how allegations of clerical child abuse were handled by church and civil authorities there between January 1st, 1975, and April 30th, 2004. It was first referred by the Minister to the High Court on September 8th.

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