Dublin: Catholic Church Braced For Diocese of Cloyne Report Findings

13 Jul

The Catholic Church is bracing itself for today’s publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Diocese of Cloyne, which runs to over 400 pages.

Cloyne - Inquiry ordered by government in 2009

Cloyne – Inquiry ordered by government in 2009

The report scrutinises how both Catholic Church and State authorities handled allegations of abuse against 19 clerics in the Co Cork diocese.

The inquiry by Judge Yvonne Murphy and two fellow commissioners was ordered by the government in 2009, following revelations that child protection practices in the diocese were inadequate and in some cases dangerous.

The long-awaited Cloyne Report extends to over 400 pages and took almost two years to prepare.

It examines a representative sample of complaints and allegations of child sexual abuse made against 19 priests working under Bishop John Magee between 1996 and 2009.

It reports on the adequacy and appropriateness of the response by the Church and State authorities.

When the commission was beginning its work, Bishop Magee announced he was stepping aside to devote himself to assisting it.

But 11 months later he resigned, leading to speculation that the findings would be extremely damaging to him.

It is over six months since the outgoing cabinet was given the commission’s 26-chapter volume.

In April, the High Court asked counsel for the State and for a priest who is before the courts and who is mentioned in the report to agree on the deletion of excerpts that might prejudice the priest’s trial.

Live coverage of the launch Cloyne Report will begin at 3pm on RTÉ One and on RTÉ.ie.

Helpdesk

The Health Service Executive will operate a confidential freephone helpdesk for people who have suffered sexual abuse anywhere at the hands of clergy.

The initiative coincides with the publication of the Cloyne Report.

The helpdesk, which can be contacted on 1800-742800 from 8am until midnight, will open at 3pm this afternoon.

It will work in collaboration with eight counselling and advocacy agencies to ensure that people who make contact with the helpdesk can access a service appropriate to their needs.

NEWS UPDATE:

THE report into clerical sex abuse in the Catholic archdiocese of Cloyne is expected to heavily criticise Bishop John Magee, in line with a previous inquiry by the Church’s own watchdog.

The report is also expected to single out Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, who assisted Bishop Magee in the running of the diocese and whose handling of complaints angered abuse victims.

After significant delays due to legal issues, the report of the state-established commission of investigation will be finally published today at 3pm, having been signed off by Cabinet yesterday.

The report examines the manner in which allegations of clerical sex abuse were handled by the diocese and Church authorities, as well as by An Garda Síochána and health services, between January 1996 and February 2009.

A December 2008 inquiry by the Church’s own watchdog — the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) — was damning of the diocese and it is thought that the commission’s report will be no different.

As a result, the report is expected to be highly critical of Dr Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan, the two men with chief responsibility for dealing with abuse allegations in the diocese during the period in question.

Dr Magee was Bishop of Cloyne until he resigned last year and Monsignor O’Callaghan was vicar-general of the diocese, meaning he assisted in the running of it, until early 2009.

The commission examined how complaints against 19 clerics, some of whom are now deceased, were handled by the Cloyne diocese and the relevant authorities.

It is expected that one chapter of the report will be redacted, either fully or in part, following a High Court order, because it deals with a priest currently before the courts.

The Cloyne allegations were referred to the commission after the NBSC report found that the diocese was “significantly deficient” in its handling of complaints.

The NBSC report found that Dr Magee and his diocese had put children at risk by delaying the reporting of cases to gardaí and by failing to immediately remove alleged offenders from ministries.

The report also said the diocese had no understanding of the effects of paedophilia, or the high level of re-offending.

A month later, in January 2009, the then children’s minister, Barry Andrews, asked the commission of investigation to conduct an inquiry into Cloyne.

In March 2009, Dr Magee relinquished his governance of the diocese in order to concentrate on co-operating with the commission of investigation’s inquiry.

The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dermot Clifford, was appointed apostolic administrator of Cloyne, making him responsible for the day-to-day running of the diocese. Dr Magee remained as Bishop of Cloyne in name only until his resignation.

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