Irish probe finds abuse cover-up in Catholic Church

The Catholic Church in Ireland covered up the sexual abuse of young people by priests over several decades in one diocese, according to a 270 page report that follows an investigation by the state.

CLICK HEREReuters says the report, which stems from an investigation begun in 2002, was published yesterday and details the Church's handling of 100 allegations of abuse against 21 priests in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford dating back to the mid-1960s.

"It is clear from the report that effective action was not taken to protect vulnerable children over a period many years," Minister for Children Brian Lenihan said in a statement.

"On behalf of the government I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms the repeated failure and gross dereliction of duties of those in positions of trust in the Dioceses of Ferns," the minister added.

The probe found that for 20 years a bishop in charge of the rural diocese in Ireland's south east penalised priests against whom abuse allegations were made by transferring them to a different post or different diocese for a time. Priests were then returned former posts.

The Ferns Inquiry report criticised the bishop's decision to ordain "clearly unsuitable men into the priesthood" when he knew or ought to have known that they might abuse children.

The findings are likely to reignite public anger in mostly Catholic Ireland after a string of clerical sex abuse scandals.

The inquiry was set up following the resignation in 2002 of the Bishop of Ferns, Brendan Comiskey, when it emerged he had been aware of the activities of an abusive priest in the diocese, south of Dublin, but failed to protect the victims.

Irish probe finds abuse cover-up in Catholic Church (Reuters 25/10/05)

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Dr Seán Brady - response to the publication of the Ferns inquiry report "New one-Church National Board for Child Protection to be established" (Catholic Communications Ireland 25/10/05)
Ferns to be named 'one of worst in the world' (Irish Times 25/10/05)
Bishop of Ferns issues unreserved apology (Irish Times 25/10/05)
Priest molested 10 girls on the altar (Irish Times 25/10/05)
ISPCC: Ferns report a damning indictment of society (Irish Times 25/10/05)
Ferns priests shamed in damning report (Irish Times 25/10/05)
Taoiseach vows to act on 'shocking' report (Irish Times 25/10/05)
ISPCC calls for laws protecting children in wake of Ferns Report (Irish Times 25/10/05)
Priest pleads guilty to child sex (news.com.au/Australian Associated Press 25/10/05)
Irish probe into RC Church abuse claims (The Age/Australian Associated Press 25/10/05)
Damning report into child abuse in Irish diocese (London Times 25/10/05)
New abuse inquiry to follow report on Ferns (Irish Independent 25/10/05)
Ferns Report to rock church (The Post.IE 23/10/05)
Cult falls apart (South Coast Register 19/10/05)

26 Oct 2005