September 2018 Comments

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:47 PM

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the country's Catholic Bishops' Conference, said that for too long the Church had looked away, denied and covered up while not wanting reports of abuse to be true.

Earlier this month, German magazine Der Spiegel quoted a leaked copy of a study that revealed that 1,670 clerics and priests had sexually abused 3,677 minors, mostly boys, in the country between 1946 and 2014.

Cardinal Marx said perpetrators must be brought to justice.

"I have to say very clearly that sexual abuse is a crime.

Those who are guilty must be punished," he said that "for all the failures and for all the pain, as chairman of Germany's Bishops Conference, I apologise."

The Pontiff has been facing mounting criticism from survivors' groups who say he has not done enough during his five years in office to make bishops accountable for mishandling or covering up abuse cases.

The crisis took a new twist last month during Pope Francis' Irish visit when the Holy See's former representative in the United States, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, called on him to resign alleging that he had promoted the now-disgraced American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite the archbishop's 2013 warning that Pope Benedict XVI had disciplined the cardinal for abusing seminarians and priests under his authority.

Last June Pope Francis barred Cardinal McCarrick from public ministry after an investigation by the New York archdiocese declared an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor "credible and substantiated."

But the Pontiff has yet to respond to Archbishop Vigano's eleven-page memo which contains an allegation that he had told the newly-elected Pope over five years ago about allegations against Cardinal McCarrick.

The Pope told journalists on the return flight from his visit to Ireland that the memo "speaks for itself" and that he would not comment on it.

Confirming that he had read the document he said he trusted journalists to judge it for themselves.

This morning in Tallinn, Pope Francis told Catholic youths that young people were outraged when they did not see clear condemnation of sexual or financial scandals, and that he wanted the Church to be "a community without fear"

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:42 PM

1/2...22 years ago today Ireland's last Magdalene institution closed

On this day, September 25, in 1996 the last remaining Magdalene institution in Ireland, closed its doors three years after the discovery of 155 bodies uncovered the long-term abuse of young women.

In September 1996, the Magdalene asylum, Our Lady of Charity on Sean McDermott Street, in Dublin, closed its doors after 155 bodies were uncovered, revealing the long-term abuse of young women in Irish Catholic institutions

The brutal treatment of women and girls in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries was largely unknown until the 1990s. It’s estimated that 10,000 Irish women and girls were sent to these workhouses, which were run by Roman Catholic nuns.

It was only in 1993, when the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, in Dublin, sold part of their convent to a property developer that the truth of the abuse and horror of these Catholic institutions was, quite literally, unearthed.

A mass grave of 155 corpses was discovered, the remains of asylum inmates.

This discovery led survivors to come forward and speak of their own experiences. It was only on this day, 22 years ago, that Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity on Sean McDermott Street, in Dublin 1, closed its doors.

Since 2001, the Irish government has acknowledged that women in the Magdalene laundries were victims of abuse. However, the Irish government has resisted calls for investigation and proposals for compensation.

It was only in 2013 that then taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny apologized directly in Parliament to those affected.

Today survivors, their family and their supporter continue to fight for justice. In August 2018 survivors met with Pope Francis in Dublin working toward the goal that the Church will address the abuse suffered at their hands and work to make sure the same horrors are not repeated.

What were the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland?

From the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 on the Magdalene Laundries were operated by four religious orders (The Sisters of Mercy, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity, and the Good Shepherd Sisters) in ten different locations around Ireland.

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:39 PM

2/2…Those incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries included women perceived to be ‘promiscuous’, along with unmarried mothers, the daughters of unmarried mothers, those who were considered a burden on their families or the State, those who had been sexually abused, or had grown up in the care of the Church and State.

Confined for decades on end and isolated from their families and society at large many of these women became institutionalized over time and therefore became utterly dependent on the relevant convents and unfit to re-enter society unaided.

Below is an extract from the research and advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes examining “What were conditions like in these institutions?”

“Their hair was cut, and their clothes were taken away and replaced with a drab uniform.

A rule of silence was imposed at almost all times in Magdalene Laundries and, in many women’s experiences, friendships were forbidden.

Correspondence with the outside was often intercepted or forbidden. Visits by friends or family were not encouraged and were monitored by nuns when they did occur.

“The girls and women were forced to work from morning until evening washing, ironing or packing laundry, and sewing, embroidering or doing other manual labuor.

These Laundries were run on a commercial, for-profit basis, but the girls and women received no pay.

No contributions (‘stamps&rsquo were paid on their behalf to statutory pension schemes.

The laundry they washed came not only from members of the public, local businesses and religious institutions, but also from numerous government

Departments, the defense forces, public hospitals, public schools, prisons and other
State entities such as the parliament, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office, the Office of Public Works, the Land Commission, CIE and Áras an Uachtaráin (the President’s Residence)(to name but a few).

“Punishments for refusal to work included deprivation of meals, solitary confinement, physical abuse, forced kneeling for long periods or humiliation rituals, including shaving of hair.

Survivors speak of constantly being under surveillance, being verbally insulted, feeling cold, having a poor diet and enduring humiliating and inadequate hygiene conditions.

None of the girls received an education, and survivors’ dwell on this fact as determining their ‘loss of opportunity’ in later life.

“It was common for the girls and women to believe that they would die inside.

Many

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:35 PM

Adoptees must receive their basic human rights…

A blood relative loses touch with a family member and after many years decides they would like to know how that family member is, perhaps be in touch, but for the moment know that they are alive and well.

The only way to find this person is through a State agency but the State agency says there are no contact details on record. Disappointed, upset, the relative lets the matter drop but continues to think about that missing family member.

Sixteen years later the relative gets a call from the State agency to say that actually a name and address are on record but they refuse to provide the information.

Instead they tell the relative to wait another two-and-a-half years after which time the agency will make contact on their behalf.

The relative persists, aware that the family member could have passed away during those 18 years. After many letters, phone calls, delays, the details are finally released in a document. They are however obliterated by Tippex.

How would that blood relative feel? Undoubtedly they would feel a sense of unnecessary interference by the State in what is essentially a private family matter.

This has been my experience as an adopted person and a familiar experience for 100,000 other adoptees in Ireland right now.

Despite being separated at birth and despite the best efforts of the Catholic Church and the State to keep us apart, we are families; blood relatives just like everyone else and have a right to private family interactions.

As adopted people, we are tired of the State and the Catholic Churches interference, tired of being denied access to our very birth certificates.

Tired of the nation ignoring 796 children and infants in a septic tank in Tuam and in another mass grave in Bessborough.

We have marriage equality, we have repealed the Eighth Amendment.

We have made magnificent progress as a nation but we will never be a New Ireland until we acknowledge the everyday, casual discrimination, hurt and pain caused to those of us who were stamped with the label: “illegitimate”.

We are tired of being told to be patient that our turn will come once other issues have been dealt with. We have waited all our lives and have been fighting all our lives for basic human rights. It’s our turn.

Noelle Brown, Adoption Rights Activist, Terenure, Dublin

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:32 PM

Redress scheme figures: Talk is cheap…

Differences over the division of the unanticipated costs of the redress scheme to help those abused while in the care of Catholic religious orders have become fraught.

Up to the end of 2015, the two schemes involved cost far more than was envisaged.

The bill then stood at over €1.5bn, far beyond the estimated €250m. Legal bills reached over €190m and accounted for almost 20% of payments made.

Most claims had been dealt with at that stage and 85% of them fell below the €100,000 mark.

To date, the Catholic Church has contributed €480.6m to this process either through cash or property transfers. This is less than a third of the total and a long way short of the 50:50 ratio anticipated.

During his recent, short visit to Ireland, Pope Francis spoke of the hurt felt by his Church over these scandals.

He apologised and sought forgiveness.

To invoke a phrase often used by another religious leader, the late Ian Paisley: “Soft words butter no parsnips.” This is just one of the reasons twice as many people went to the recent Ploughing Championships as went to the papal mass in the Phoenix Park

ANON Sep 27th, 2018 @ 01:29 PM

€253m still outstanding on Catholic Church abuse compensation promise…

€480m had been promised but only €227m has actually been paid over as compensation money for victims of physical and sexual abuse

The Catholic Church still has to pay the State more than half of the compensation money it promised to give for victims of physical and sexual abuse.

The Joint Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee heard this morning that while €480m had been promised, only €227m had actually been paid over.

Correspondence from the Department of Education showed that a further €253m was outstanding.

The chair of the PAC, Sean Fleming, said the balance should be paid as it was "money due to the State".

He added that this issue was supposed to be concluded by the end of the year but added: "I don't believe it."

The Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said the total bill was in the region of €1.5bn.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:24 PM

1/2...Tuam scoping exercise report won't be ready until December, reveals Zappone…

A memo will go to the Government “in the coming weeks” outlining how to deal with the infant remains found at the site of the former mother and baby home in Tuam.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone told the Dáil the final report of the “scoping exercise” investigating the scale of illegal birth registrations has been delayed until the middle of December.

Ms Zappone is waiting on a report from Geoffrey Shannon, the special rapporteur on child protection, on the human rights issues arising from the discovery at Tuam.

A decision on what to do with the site after the Cabinet examines this report is due this month.

The scoping exercise was announced by Ms Zappone at the end of May following the discovery by Tusla of 126 cases in which births were illegally registered between 1946 and 1969 in the records of St Patrick’s Guild. The records transferred to the agency in 2016.

It is being led by independent reviewer Marion Reynolds and will involve the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) and Tusla.

It was due to publish its report at the end of October but Ms Zappone said the report would now not be ready until the middle of December.

She said the delay was due to a “very complex task and issues have arisen in relation to data protection and GDPR”.

She said: “I want to get to the truth and I believe that further analysis which has commenced, together with the ongoing work of the commission of investigation into mother and baby homes, will be extremely important in helping us to shape the further steps to be taken.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:23 PM

2/2...The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has declined to reveal the sample size of the 150,000 records to be examined or the methodology.

The scoping exercise has also been criticised for being focused only on illegal registrations and not all forms of illegal adoption.

Ms Zappone was asked why her department has failed to launch an investigation into illegal adoptions before now and why it has not initiated a full audit of adoption records.

The Irish Examiner has revealed issues around illegal adoptions for many years, including the fact that the regulatory body for adoption, the AAI, warned the department about the scale of the problem in 2011, 2013, and in 2015.

In 2015, it sent the department a detailed spreadsheet containing 90 cases that it felt represented illegal registrations. This information was not acted upon at that time.

Ms Zappone defended the actions of her department, stating that the AAI information supplied to it did not contain sufficient evidence to be confirmed as illegal registrations.

As I said on my press statement of May 29, [the AAI] is examining these unconfirmed cases further to see if any further facts can be established but it’s really difficult to prove these cases in the absence of good records,” she said.

“But, if the AAI, following this validation exercise, reaches the high level of certainty that I have spoken of, these cases will be added to the 126 that have already been confirmed and announced by me.”

Ms Zappone also said that she is still awaiting a reply to a letter she gave Pope Francis last month about the need for the Church to “contribute substantially” towards the cost of whatever is done to deal with babies’ remains at Tuam.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:21 PM

1/2...Ex-priest avoids jail for abusing boy aged 12 in seaside cottage…

A paedophile former priest who sexually abused a boy more than 20 years ago walked free from court yesterday after he was handed a community service order.

Daniel Curran indecently assaulted the 12-year-old during an overnight stay at his family cottage in Tyrella, Co Down in January 1991.

In Downpatrick Crown Court yesterday, Judge Piers Grant told Curran: "It was your typical modus operandai to take young boys to this remote cottage where you would abuse them sexually."

Curran (6, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, was handed a community service order of 200 hours.

A registered sex offender since 1995, Curran has received 15 years of jail sentences both immediate and suspended for similar offences in 1977, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Appearing in the dock in a black and red raincoat, Curran gave no reaction to the judge's remarks.

The victim reported the incident to police in 2015, with the judge saying his mother described how "he changed in character significantly and adversely".

Curran manipulated the boy's parents into allowing him to stay at the cottage, saying that two other boys wouldn't go without him.

Each of the boys was given a glass of whiskey before they all went to sleep in the same double bed with their clothes on.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:19 PM

2/2...The 12-year-old victim got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, but found Curran waiting for him naked from the waist down. The victim was then forced to put his hand on Curran's private parts.

In December 2016, Curran told police that he remembered the other two boys' names but could not recall the victim.

He did not deny the offences, but expressed regret and said that he was a chronic alcoholic at the time.

Judge Grant said "the planned and premeditated" attack by Curran had "wickedly" taken advantage of widespread trust in the church at the time.

In imposing the community service, he said the offence would not have increased Curran's previous sentence if it was known about at the time.

The former priest's guilty plea, remorse and an assessment of a low risk of reoffending were also considered.

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors such as intent and excessive violence.

The NSPCC called Curran's attack "appalling" and said "many survivors do not reveal their ordeal at the time so it is vital that they are able to access support as well as justice when they are eventually able to disclose what happened to them".

"We would urge survivors of sexual abuse to come forward in the knowledge that their voices will be heard," it added.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:16 PM

1/2...Pope has not yet replied to mother-and-baby home memo, Zappone says…
Minister says memo to Government ‘in coming weeks’ on what do next about Tuam site
The Government has not yet received a reply from Pope Francis to a request that the Catholic Church contribute to the cost of reparation at the former mother and baby home in Tuam.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone spoke to the pope about the matter during his visit to Ireland last month and gave him a memo which provided detail about the discovery of children’s remains at the site in Tuam.

Sinn Féin’s Denise Mitchell asked the Minister in the Dáil if she had received any response from the pope or his officials on the subject of mother and baby homes. At the time the Minister was accused of engaging in a “publicity stunt”.

Ms Zappone said she was “still awaiting a reply” and reiterated her view that the church should contribute significantly to whatever decision the Government made in relation to the future of the Tuam site.

She repeated her belief that the church’s contribution “should be done willingly, unconditionally and quickly”.

The Tuam Home Survivors Network also accused Ms Zappone of being responsible for a “dishonest exercise” over the future of the former home site which, it says, has delayed exhumation of bodies and “prolonged the agony of survivors”.

Ms Zappone told Fianna Fáil spokeswoman on children Anne Rabbitte that she hoped to bring a memo to Government “within the coming weeks” to make decision about what to do next at the Tuam site.

Former residents favour complete exhumation and identification of the remains, one of five options being considered, which also include retention of the site as a memorial to those who died there.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:15 PM

2/2...Counselling

Ms Rabbitte questioned the Minister on the provision of counselling services for former residents. Ms Zappone said it was a key concern and she agreed that “in general, yes of course we should do it but what’s the best way”.

Counselling was one of the primary issues the collaborative forum of former residents was looking at and she expected to have a report within six months.

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan said there was a need to process issues “in a much more speedy fashion” and she expressed concern of a “kick to touch exercise” that would not get to the nub of what was required because there was disappointment with the interim report “with the lack of information”.

Ms Zappone pointed out that it took time to “establish and select a fully representative group of people for a collaborative forum” of former residents.

She said she understood the need for speed. “I personally am committed to move as quickly as we can.”

She said the commission established following the discovery early last year of the remains at Tuam, would issue its final reports in early February next year.

The extra time it received to complete its work it was using to listen to former residents of the home. She understood they were eagerly awaiting a response and she had initiated a number of processes including the collaborative forum so that “former residents can directly engage on issues of concern”.

ANON Sep 25th, 2018 @ 05:12 PM

Judge slams decision to house paedophile near children's home…

A judge has ordered a police force and council to pay £52,000 to a sex abuse victim after a convicted paedophile was housed near his children's home.

Martin Todd was sent to live near the Leicester home in 2009 in a decision the court said "beggared belief".

He was jailed in 2011 for sexually assaulting and attempting to rape the boy, then aged 15.

Leicestershire Police and Leicester City Council said they would appeal against the decision.

At the hearing, Judge Alison Hampton said there was a "serious failure" to share information about Todd with staff at the home so they could take steps to safeguard the children.

She also expressed concern that the children's services and housing departments did not question the location of the address, "a stone's throw away" from the council-run children's home.

The judgement came in response to a compensation claim launched by the victim in April 2015, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

Todd was sent to live at the address - which was proposed by the police in 2009, after being jailed firstly in 1997, for two separate sex attacks on young boys, and again in 2006 for 10 breaches of a sexual offences prevention order, by befriending four families with children. No offences were committed.

The boy was sexually abused by Todd between October and November 2009. At a trial at Leicester Crown Court in 2011, he was found guilty of attempted rape and two counts of sexual assault.

He was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection, with a minimum of five years.

At the compensation hearing last month, Judge Hampton ordered police to pay £41,600 and the authority £10,400 to the victim, now in his 20s, and refused both organisations permission to appeal. Their appeals will now go before the High Court.

ANON Sep 14th, 2018 @ 05:13 PM

British paedophile who groomed Kenyan children caught after holidaymaker's 'gut instinct' …

A British paedophile who preyed on vulnerable Kenyan children was caught after a holidaymaker used ‘gut instinct’ to report him to authorities.

Keith Morris, from Hull, travelled to a rural village in Kilifi County over a period of about 20 years, and met with groups of young girls, but was flagged to the National Crime Agency by David Bushell after the tourist believed something was "seriously wrong."

Bushell, from London, said that he observed Morris over three days after spotting the 72-year-old with groups of girls aged between 10 and 12.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I felt like something was wrong but I was not really sure why the alarm bells were ringing.

"By the second day I felt like I just wanted to go and confront him and ask 'What are you doing with these children? What relationship are they to you?'”

After hotel staff told Bushell that Morris was in the process of adopting eight girls, he called the NCA.

"Ultimately if there is nothing wrong then all you will do is cause someone a small amount of stress but if there's something seriously wrong you may save someone's life or save them from the horrendous actions of someone that is quite monstrous," he said.

Morris, a retired locksmith, was convicted at Leeds Crown Court of four counts of rape, four counts of assault by penetration, two charges of sexual assault and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

A spokesperson from the NCA said: “This report from a member of the public played an integral part in the operation.

“Child sexual abuse is a very difficult crime to detect and we know that it is difficult for victims to report too.

“We rely on the public to have the confidence to be able to report crimes of a sexual nature to the authorities, especially child sexual abuse and this is why there is a need for clear reporting processes.

“It is everyone’s business to keep children safe from harm.”

ANON Sep 14th, 2018 @ 05:09 PM

DCC members vote to halt sale of Magdalene Laundry site…

Elected members of Dublin City Council have voted overwhelmingly to halt the proposed sale of the site of the former convent and Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott St.

The two-acre site in Dublin's northeast inner city is the last remaining Magdalene Laundry in state ownership and was to be sold to a Japanese Hotel group.

The €50m development was to include a hotel, a community centre, a memorial garden and cultural venue to commemorate Magdalene victims and survivors, as well as a supermarket and 55 social housing units.

At a special meeting this evening, 37 councillors voted to retain ownership, with just eight voting against and two abstaining.

Survivors of the Magdalene Laundries applauded from the public gallery as the result of the vote was read out.

A number of protesters had gathered outside Dublin Castle ahead of the debate.

Some held signs saying "no sale", others held aloft posters which read "our land is not yours to sell".

Councillor Gary Gannon, who proposed the motion, said the proposed sale of such a culturally sensitive property to private developers without proper consideration for the victims and survivors of institutional abuse was entirely inappropriate.

"It is the only laundry of its type in the possession of the State, which is why it is so important," he told the council.

"When I think of conversations I have had with survivors, every single one had a simple request, to be remembered.

"These are people who had their names removed, we still don't have burial records where some were placed.

"There is a simple request and responsibility on us as a council custodians of that building, to provide a place where people can be remembered in an honourable way."

The council will now consider the future of the site.

Survivors have called for a museum and interpretive centre on the site.

ANON Sep 13th, 2018 @ 01:48 PM

1/2...Report details thousands of Catholic abuse cases in Germany since 1946…

A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014, two leading German media outlets have said.

Spiegel Online and Die Zeit said the report they obtained, commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and researched by three universities, concludes that more than half of the victims were 13 or younger and most were boys.

Every sixth case involved rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, both weeklies reported.

Die Zeit wrote that 969 abuse victims were altar boys.

The report also says that the actual number of victims was likely much higher, according to the research by experts from the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim.

The German Bishops Conference said in a written response a few hours later that it regretted the leaking of the report, but that the study confirms "the extent of the sexual abuse" that took place.

"It is depressing and shameful for us," Bishop Stephan Ackermann said.

He did not further elaborate on the findings of the report, but said the Catholic group would present the study as initially planned on September 25 together with the authors.

ANON Sep 13th, 2018 @ 01:46 PM

2/2...Die Zeit wrote that researchers were not allowed to look at the original church files but had to provide questionnaires to the dioceses, which then provided the information.

In their conclusions, the researchers write that there was evidence that some files were manipulated or destroyed, many cases were not brought to justice, and that sometimes abuse suspects, primarily priests, were simply moved to other dioceses without the congregations being informed about their past.

The Catholic Church has been struggling with sex abuse by its clergy for a long time.
In 2010, the German church was rocked by a sex abuse scandal triggered by the head of a Jesuit school in Berlin who went public about decades-long sexual abuse of high school students by clergy.

Following that, a whole wave of victims who were sexually abused by clergy spoke out across the country.

An investigation in the United States last month found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, the Vatican said it is preparing the "necessary clarifications" about accusations that top Vatican officials including Pope Francis covered up the sexual misconduct of a now-disgraced American ex-cardinal.

Also today, the Vatican said it was summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.

ANON Sep 12th, 2018 @ 10:09 AM

Pope Francis to meet US church leaders over abuse claims…

Pope Francis is to meet with US Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked for the meeting after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano last month accused the pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of doing nothing about it.

The Vatican said in a statement the pope would meet on Thursday with Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, and two USCCB officials.
In the 11-page statement published on 26 August, Archbishop Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, launched an unprecedented broadside by a Church insider against the pope and a long list of Vatican and US Church officials.

Cardinal DiNardo has said Archbishop Vigano's accusations "deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence".

The accusations shook the US Church, following a damning Grand Jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

Cardinal DiNardo has called for the Vatican to help with an investigation into how McCarrick could have risen steadily through the ranks of the US Church although many people knew that he had engaged for years in sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians.

ANON Sep 12th, 2018 @ 10:07 AM

10 more sex abuse allegations made in Kilmore diocese…

The diocese of Kilmore has received 10 new allegations of clerical sex abuse against priests, with a report praising the way in which senior Church figures responded to the issue.

The Second Review of Child Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Kilmore was undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and was published yesterday.

It paints an extremely positive picture of the work done by Church management in the diocese in relation to ensuring the safety of children and the management of those against whom allegations have been made.

The diocese of Kilmore covers most of Cavan, large sections of Leitrim, three parishes in Fermanagh, and parts of Sligo and Meath.

According to the report, allegations have been made with regard to 13 priests in the area since 1975, relating to 17 claims.

However, since the last review of the diocese, conducted in 2010, 10 allegations have surfaced in relation to six priests, four of whom are still living.

Regarding the status of the living, accused priests, one is still in ministry and three are out of ministry.

Of the 10 allegations that have been reported since 2010, four relate to one priest, who was later convicted in the courts, and two relate to another cleric.

Regarding the cleric against whom four allegations have been made, the report states that he also faced allegations made prior to 2010.

As for the 10 allegations made in the last eight years, seven were reported to gardaí and three were reported to the diocese by An Garda Síochána.

Eight allegations were also reported to Tusla, while one was reported to the diocese by Tusla. The report says Tusla was “aware of” another allegation since the 2010 review.

One priest has been convicted of offences since 2010 and one priest has been found guilty in a canonical process.

The report stresses that the response to the allegations was swift and comprehensive. Case files were “extremely well documented”, all allegations were reported promptly, and actions taken to restrict ministry were taken “decisively” by Bishop Leo O’Reilly.

Undoubtedly, the primary focus of diocesan interventions is on safeguarding children,” states the report.

“There is also evidence of compassionate responding to complainants, even when civil authority agencies do not take action.

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 11:03 AM

Tougher sentence sought for cleric’s cover-up of abuse…

Australian prosecutors have said they will appeal for a tougher sentence for the most senior Roman Catholic cleric convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

A magistrate ordered ex-Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to be detained at his sister's New South Wales home for at least six months of a one-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The 67-year-old cleric was convicted in May of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by a paedophile priest in Sydney in the 1970s.

The Australian director of public prosecutions' office said prosecutors are appealing the "inadequacy" of the sentence.

Wilson had faced a possible sentence of two years in jail

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

New York's attorney general has issued civil subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sex abuse investigation, a law enforcement source has said….

The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office into how dioceses reviewed, and potentially covered-up, allegations of extensive sexual abuse of minors, said the source, who asked not to be identified.

Last month Ms Underwood sought to partner with district attorneys, the only entities with the power to convene grand juries in the state, to investigate possible crimes and potentially prosecute individuals who have committed criminal offences within the statutes of limitations.

There is no time limit under New York state's statute of limitations for so-called Class A crimes such as rape.

The development comes atfter a grand jury in the US state of Pennsylvania published a report decrying a systematic cover-up of abuse by the church there.

"The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses," Ms Underwood said in a statement, announcing the New York investigation.

The Archdiocese of New York said in a statement it was eager to work with Ms Underwood in the investigation and provide any information available.

"Not only do we provide any information they seek, they also notify us as well when they learn of an allegation of abuse, so that, even if they cannot bring criminal charges, we might investigate and remove from ministry any cleric who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse," said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

The Diocese of Buffalo said in a statement that it would cooperate with any investigation by the New York State attorney general or district attorney.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said that his office was creating a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members within the state's Catholic dioceses.

Mr Grewal said he was troubled by the Pennsylvania report.

"We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here," he said in a statement.

"If it did, we will take action against those responsible"

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 10:58 AM

1/2...‘No plans’ to open committee archive on Magdalene laundries…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s department has said there are “no plans” to open to the public the McAleese Committee archive on the Magdalene laundries despite repeated calls from campaigners and survivors.

It comes just weeks after Mr Varadkar asked the Pope to use his “office and influence” to ensure “justice and truth and healing” was given to survivors of institutional abuse.

The archive, which contains data from the religious congregations that ran the laundries as well as copies of relevant official records across departments, State agencies, and bodies, has been with the Department of An Taoiseach since 2015.

The department has refused calls to open the archive to the public in the years since.

In a Freedom of Information refusal issued to the Justice For Magdalenes Research (JFMR) group in 2016, the department said it was holding the archive for “safe keeping” and that it was “not held within the control of the department for the purposes of the FOI Act”.

The department has said the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 informed the decision to deposit the archive with the Taoiseach. However, it pointed out that the act “does not apply to the work of the Inter-Departmental [McAleese] Committee or bind it in any way”.

Professor James Smith of Boston College and JFMR asked, given that the Taoiseach had asked the Pope to use his “office and influence” to bring about “justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors” of the Magdalene laundries and other institutions, could he not do the same by opening the archive.

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 10:56 AM

2/2...“There is now an opportunity for Mr Varadkar also to use his office and influence to ensure that the McAleese Committee archive is made public in the interests of ‘justice and truth’.

An Taoiseach’s department currently holds that archive. It was placed there for ‘safe keeping’, as detailed in the committee’s first interim report.

“The Commission of Investigations Act 2004 informed these decisions and yet the McAleese Committee was not subject to that legislation.

The archive is exempt from Freedom of Information requests. It is not governed, that we know, by the National Archives Act 1986.

“It sits, literally, in a legal limbo that impedes greater understanding and truth.”

Prof Smith also said the department’s stance was at odds with the Government’s response to the UN Committee Against Torture last month when it stated: “Any records held in a public archive are publicly available.”

“Is the Taoiseach’s department suggesting that it is somehow exempt from that assertion?” he said.

In a statement, the department said there were “no plans” to open the archive but said any future decision would have to take account of the “sensitivity” of the records.

“If at some point in the future there is to be any access to the data, such access could only ever be considered in the context of the sensitivity of the material and on the basis of the legislative protections for the personal and confidential information,” the statement said.

“This would include the requirements for any consultations that might be necessary at that time.

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 10:54 AM

1/2...The Catholic Church was given far too much power…

On your letter column on August 28, Patrick Dalton wrote of us being collectively responsible for the society we live in going on to say, “who said stop when families handed over their ‘fallen’ daughters to institutions?

Who said stop when the State broke up struggling families and put their children into care? Who said stop when Irish priests, brothers and nuns abused these citizens?”

So, Patrick Dalton believes we are responsible collectively and that “the shame of this inaction lies with us alone”.

For centuries the Catholic Church has had tremendous power in Ireland; communities respected, looked up to religious priests particularly. I believe the

Church had excess power. Power is a gift and if divinely given has wonderful potential to help people to better their lives.

Instead, children were violated in shocking ways by misuse of power, pregnant girls and unmarried were sent to mother and baby homes to have their newborn infant maybe sold abroad.

In the mother and baby home in Tuam hundreds of babies’ bodies were hidden away in a sewer-like condition, without respect or dignity.

Powerful priests abused innocent boys like Colm O’Gorman, during his early teen years, a cruel betrayal of trust at a vulnerable time in a young boy’s life.

The list of abuse and horror goes on. During the Pope’s visit my head was spinning.
I half-heartedly watched parts of the visit on television, my thoughts and heart were with the victims, the survivors of abuse and of Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes.

ANON Sep 8th, 2018 @ 10:51 AM

2/2...While in Ireland, Pope Francis apologised for the various abuses and asked for forgiveness.

What is crucial is to make reparation for the terrible wrongs done.

Reconciliation occurs when the perpetrators try to make amends. Strong action is needed, child abusers banished from ministry and objectors to canon law changes being fired immediately.

Minister Catherine Zappone’s initiative holds a glimmer of hope that people of her tenacity may persist and insist on the acknowledgement of the Church wrongdoing, and maybe the Church may make use of the opportunity to amend some of the harm to make amends so help those suffering after abuse to find some healing.

Maybe then we may get more Catholics attending mass instead of the shrinking numbers in many churches.

Maybe then there would be hope for the falling star of Catholicism.

Maybe then only then with an attempt at reparation made we could attempt to move forward have real trust in others especially religious priests and nuns again.

I hold my breath and wait for that reparation. It is the very least those who have been so deeply hurt, betrayed and traumatised deserve.

It should happen as quickly as possible, as suggested by Catherine Zappone.

It is only when this occurs that the Catholic Church might win back some of the trust it has lost and some of the hurt repaired that has been inflicted.

ANON Sep 4th, 2018 @ 08:09 PM

Colm O’Gorman asks councillors to block Magdalene laundry sale

A proposal to stop the sale of the former Magdalene laundry on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin to a Japanese hotel chain will be put to Dublin city councillors on Monday.

Toyoko Inn has offered Dublin City Council €14.5 million for the two-acre site in the northeast inner city. Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, in recent days wrote to councillors asking that they oppose the sale.

The no-frills hotel chain wants to build a 350-bed hotel, student accommodation and shops.

The proposal also includes 60 apartments for social housing, likely to be used for senior citizens, and a permanent memorial to the women who were incarcerated in the laundry before it closed in 1996.

The laundry was one of five sites which was to be redeveloped for private and social housing under a public-private partnership (PPP) between the council and Bernard McNamara, during the boom.

The council’s deputy chief executive and head of housing, Brendan Kenny, has said the money acquired from the sale to the hotel group will be invested back into the area and the redevelopment of the vacant building would be a “ catalyst for badly needed economic and physical regeneration of this street and its environs which is only a few hundred yards away from O’Connell Street

ANON Sep 4th, 2018 @ 08:08 PM

Redress scheme...

However, opposition ha