News archive 2005, Towards Healing

Statement of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin following publication of the Ferns Report

PRESS RELEASE

25 OCTOBER 2005

STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN

FOLLOWING PUBLICATION OF THE FERNS REPORT

This report is vital in bringing into the open the detail surrounding years
of sexual abuse by priests which caused horrendous damage to so many people
and their families. We must do what we can to ensure it never happens again.

I want to pay tribute to those who have come forward and to their friends and
families for supporting them. No matter how much I listen to people who were
abused I know I can never fully understand or appreciate what they went through.

It is now clear that many children would not have suffered abuse had those
with knowledge acted upon it. This was unforgivable. It is a reminder to all
of us that we must be vigilant and speak up for children. As Archbishop of
Dublin, I join with others in the Church in Ireland in saying sorry to those
who have been abused.

I will study this report in detail and if there is anything more we can do
in the Dublin Diocese to ensure protection for children we will do it.

Since my appointment as Archbishop of Dublin I have personally commissioned
an independent audit of files in Archbishop’s House concerning priests, so
that all relevant information is available to me. I would urge anyone who
has concerns about any person working in the Dublin Diocese to report them
to our Child Protection Service. {Tel:8842593. Web: www.cps.dublindiocese.ie}.
The problem of sexual abuse by priests will never be resolved until it is
established exactly what happened.

Sexual abuse by priests has devastated the lives of those abused and their
families. It has also resulted in enormous damage to people’s faith, not
only in the Church but in God. It has distressed priests who find it hard
to believe that their fellow clerics could cause so much harm. Many priests
have been subject to public attack and ridicule while continuing to serve
in parishes and different ministries.

Priests have traditionally enjoyed very privileged levels of trust in their
communities. It is clear that in many cases that trust has been betrayed
by those priests who abused and by the failure of church authorities to act
when they should have.

I remain committed to doing all I can for those who have suffered because
of child sexual abuse by priests and I will do everything possible to ensure
a safe environment for children and young people.

Ends.

Annette O Donnell
Communications Office
Archbishop’s House
Dublin 9
Ireland
Telephone: (01) 836 0723
Facsimile: (01) 836 0793

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