15 Nov 2010

Sinead O'Connor, a survivor of severe child abuse, says Vatican should be subject of criminal investigation for covering up crimes

Belfast Telegraph - January 4, 2010

Sinead O'Connor: Pope should visit Ireland and apologise to child abuse victims

Sinéad O'Connor

Singer Sinead O'Connor has said that the Pope should come to Ireland to personally apologise to the Irish people for the litany of crimes against children outlined in the Ryan and Murphy reports.

"In 1987, the Church in Ireland took out an insurance policy to protect themselves from claims they foresaw would be brought against them from survivors of clerical abuse and their families. If they knew as far back as 1987, why did they not deal with the issue then?" she said.

"In all this time and with the Ryan report and now the Murphy report, why did neither Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict get on a plane and come to Ireland to meet the survivors, to personally apologise and thank them for their bravery in coming forward?

"It seems to me the Church themselves should have been the ones to bring this matter into the public arena," she said. "One of the reasons I feel so passionately about these issues is that I am myself a survivor of severe child abuse."

She said that by resigning, Catholic bishops were actually getting off the hook.

"I myself would go much further and say that the Vatican itself should now be the subject of criminal investigation into what went on in the Irish Catholic Church," she says. "They knew in 1987 what was going on in the Irish Church -- they did nothing but act to preserve their business interests."

The singer, who was also known as Sister Bernadette, said that she had spoken to survivors and people who campaigned for years to expose what was going on in the Church and she was humbled by their stories.

"These are the people who acted in the interests of children and in the interests of Catholicism. Ireland owes them a massive debt of gratitude for bringing us the truth and therefore allowing us to disentangle ourselves from. . . oppression and lies."

She also called on the Republic's Children's Minister Barry Andrews to organise for a monument, to be paid for by the Catholic Church, to be erected in every diocese "to honour and thank these brave people who have fought to be heard and changed the course of Irish history".

"Their names should be set in stone so that this country will never forget their courage and they will remain an inspiration for generations to come," she added.

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