Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Church braces for Cloyne Report findings

The Catholic Church is bracing itself for this afternoon's publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Diocese of Cloyne.
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 respects 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 and his predecessors in the diocese 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.
Bishop not at home
There was no answer when RTÉ News called this morning at the parochial house in Mitchelstown in north Cork where Bishop Magee has been living.
Staff at the adjoining parish office confirmed that Dr Magee lives at the house, but said he was not at home.
The former bishop moved from Cobh to Mitchelstown following his retirement in March of last year, but local people say he has not been seen in the area for a number of weeks.

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.

Fine Gael call for mandatory reporting
A Fine Gael backbencher has urged the Government to introduce mandatory reporting of abuse or suspected abuse.
Derek Keating, who represents Dublin Mid-West along with the Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, said the Cloyne Report highlights again how children have been failed by institutions with responibiilty for protecting them.
Deputy Keating said the guidelines to be published by Minister Fitzgerald on Friday should include a legal obligation for professionals, including bishops, to report abuse.
He added that he was disappointed at indications that such a provision may not be included.
He raised the issue in the Dáil yesterday with Minister Fitzgerald.

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