News archive 2005

Statement from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

PRESS RELEASE

26 OCTOBER 2005

STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN

 
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin would like to re-iterate a
pledge made many times in the past that the Dublin Diocese will co-operate
fully with any government inquiries into allegations of child sexual abuse
by priests under his jurisdiction in the Dublin Diocese and how they were
managed.

Currently, the Archdiocese of Dublin responds to allegations and concerns
of sexual abuse made against priests in accordance with Child Sexual Abuse:
Framework for a Church Response
, (Veritas 1996), commonly referred to
as “The Green Book.”   The diocese has already integrated into these processes
the norms outlined in the new church guidelines, Our Children: Our Church,
in advance of their formal adoption nationwide.  The procedures are also
consistent with national civil guidelines: Children First: National Guidelines
for the Protection and Welfare of Children, (Dublin, 1999).  

The diocese of Dublin set up its own Child Protection Service in 2003. The
Director is responsible for the overall management and development of the
Child Protection Service. He receives all allegations of abuse and ensures
that they are dealt with appropriately.
 
The Victim Support Person provides a separate support for victims and their
families. He also provides assistance in making a complaint, facilitating
access to information and help, and representing victims concerns to the
diocese.
 
The Priest Delegate is responsible for the management of the response to
priests accused of child abuse. Priest Advisers provide support for accused
priests and their families and can be contacted through the Priest Delegate.

Once the Child Protection Service receives a formal allegation of abuse from
a victim, the Archbishop is informed and the matter is discussed at a
conference meeting with the Child Protection Service, the Gardai and the
Health Service Executive.  If that group feels that the accused priest
constitutes a risk to children then the priest concerned is asked to stand
aside immediately until the investigation is completed. All cases are kept
under review and appropriate actions are taken on receiving additional
information.

The Archbishop and the Director of Child Protection avail themselves of the
guidance of an Advisory panel made up of experts in a variety of fields
relevant to its work.  

If in the wake of the Ferns Report other mechanisms are identified which
would offer improved protection for children, the Diocese is committed to
implementing them immediately.  

Archbishop Martin has over the past year made available statistical information
concerning the numbers of concerns or allegations which have arisen about
priests exercising their ministry under his authority. Allegations have been
made or concerns have been expressed about 67 Dublin priests.  The allegations
concern accusations of abuse occurring since 1940.   During that time almost
1,500 have served as priests of Dublin diocese.  It is important to note that
this figure relates to allegations.  The figure includes therefore allegations
which have been false, cases where the priest was wrongly identified and some
where the evidence has been inconclusive. Of those against whom allegations
have been made, 8 have been convicted in the criminal courts.  No priest who,
in the combined view of the Child Protection Service, Gardai and health executive
constitutes a risk to children is in active ministry in the diocese.

The diocese has been the subject of 105 civil actions concerning 32 priests.  
Of these, 62 have been brought to conclusion and the others are in various
stages of progress.  With regard to those cases which have been fully settled,
the diocese has paid €4.07m in settlement of claims.  A further €1.514 has been
paid in legal costs; this includes the legal costs of both the plaintiffs and
the diocese.  The diocese continues to receive new allegations, almost all
of which refer to events which took place many years ago.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin added, “Following my appointment as Archbishop, I
commissioned an audit of the various files concerning priests that are kept
by the diocese.  This audit will serve to give me a clear and comprehensive
overview of all the information available concerning priests who have been
the subject of allegations of abuse.  It also allows me to reassure the vast
majority of priests that they should have no anxiety in this regard”.
 
The Archbishop repeated his appeal to anyone who has been abused by a priest
to come forward to the diocese, the statutory authorities or to any other
organisation with which they feel comfortable in speaking.
 
ends
 
Annette O Donnell
Communications Office
Archbishop’s House
Dublin 9
Ireland
Telephone: (01) 836 0723
Facsimile: (01) 836 0793

                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                             

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