Tuesday, October 25, 2005

# Posted 3:32 PM by Patrick Belton  

FERNS REPORT RELEASED: The long-awaited enquiry into sexual abuse against children in the Wexford diocese of Ferns by members of the Catholic clergy, an investigation led by retired Supreme Court judge Frank Murphy, has been presented to Government today. (c.f. RTE, Irish Times, Times) The report identifies over one hundred allegations, involving 21 priests, and concludes that the diocese's Bishops Herlihy and Comiskey systematically disregarded the interests of the community they served in order to protect priests at fault. The state comes in for criticism too, with the inquiry documenting gardaí lost witness statements and failed to pass cases to the DPP. Though the report is not being released on the internet, which strikes me as rather discreditable, Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle (disclaimer: née Belton) and Wexford newspaper editor Ger Walsh discuss it here.

The Royal College of Surgeons released a study in 2003 of sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland, a subject which - especially under the guise of abuse of institutionalised youth by the Christian Brothers - has been at the forefront of the changing role, and declining privilege, of the church in Irish society. The Redemptorists have written thoughtfully and searchingly about this in their magazine Reality, here and here, and the Jesuits in their excellent magazine Studies, here.
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