Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin calls for Catholic sex abuse investigation

 

One of the highest ranking members of the Catholic Church in Ireland has called for an independent investigation into past allegations of clerical sex abuse.

As Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin spoke out against the past failings of the Church, another bishop defended Cardinal Sean Brady, whose involvement in a secret 1975 probe into allegations of abuse has come under fire.

Archbishop Martin said a commission should be set up to examine all accusations against paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

"I know it's not fashionable to talk about commissions, but I believe an independent commission to investigate the activities of Brendan Smyth, as to how he was allowed to abuse for so many years - north and south, church and state," Archbishop Martin told RTE.

"I believe that would be in the public interest."

He said it was the least Fr Smyth's victims deserve.

But Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Colm O'Reilly said while the abuse carried out by Fr Smyth was appalling, Cardinal Brady acted accordingly and should not be forced to resign.

A documentary last week revealed that Cardinal Brady, who acted as a note-taker during the probe into allegations against Fr Smyth in the 1970s, had a list of children's names who were being abused but failed to inform Gardai and their parents.

He has refused to step down from his position as Primate, despite increasing pressure from politicians north and south of the border.

The cardinal gave the information to his superior bishop, but no action was taken against Fr Smyth and he was able to continue abusing children for a further 20 years.

"I feel he should not stand aside," said Bishop O'Reilly.

"I think what he did, he did conscientiously. I have no reason to doubt that. I have great respect for Cardinal Sean Brady."

The bishop added that had Cardinal Brady, then a teacher in Armagh, given the evidence he had obtained to Gardai, they would have referred him back to the Church.

"I'm not sure the authorities would have been able to take it on themselves," he said.

The 1975 private probe involved interviews with then 14-year-old Brendan Boland.

He told investigators at least five children had been attacked by Smyth.

Fr Smyth continued abusing for a further two decades and it is feared at least another 30 children fell victim.

The paedophile was eventually convicted in 1994 in a Belfast court of 17 counts of sexual abuse.

He pleaded guilty to a further 74 counts of child sex abuse three years later in Dublin. He died in prison in 1997.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions