News archive 2008

Archdiocese of Dublin publishes Child Protection Update

PRESS RELEASE
7 November 2008

Archdiocese of Dublin publishes Child Protection Update

It has been the practice of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to put on the public record updates of statistics concerning allegations of child sexual abuse made against, or suspicions raised concerning, priests of the Archdiocese, or priests from Religious Congregations or other Dioceses who have worked in Dublin.

This current statement is an update of the statistics published over 18 months ago in May 2007.   It contains information on Dublin Diocesan priests, as well as information regarding priests from Religious Congregations and other Dioceses who at some time held an appointment in Dublin, or who carried out short-term supply ministry without a formal appointment from the Diocese, and against whom allegations or suspicions have arisen even where the allegation does not refer to their time in the Diocese.

Based on the information currently available the following statistics have been compiled regarding the period between 1940 and 2008.  During that period:

  • Allegations have been made against 77 priests of the Diocese.
  • Suspicions have been raised concerning 9 priests of the Diocese.
  • Allegations have been made against 54 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses who held an appointment in Dublin.
  • Allegations have been made against 9 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses, which related to their doing supply in Dublin.
  • Suspicions have been raised concerning 3 Religious priests who held appointments in the Diocese.

The diocese also possesses information regarding allegations of sexual abuse where, despite close liaison with the civil authorities, it has not been possible to identify the priest concerned. 

It is the policy of Archbishop Martin that all allegations and suspicions be reported to the civil authorities, in accordance with Our Children Our Church.[i]   8 priests have been convicted in the criminal courts. Three Dublin Diocesan priests who have been the subject of allegations of child sexual abuse are currently before the courts.

These statistics date over a period of 68 years. Since 1940 over 1,350 Diocesan priests have served in Dublin and around 1,450 priests from Religious Congregations have held appointments from the Archbishop of Dublin. In addition, the number of priests who may have done supply in Dublin in this period is unquantifiable but significant.

The statistics constitute a record of allegations made and suspicions raised irrespective of the eventual outcome. They include allegations which have been substantiated, and those which have not, and allegations which are demonstrably false or mistaken. 

From the information currently available to the Diocese approximately 400 people have been identified who have either complained or are known or suspected to have suffered child sexual abuse by priests.   It is most likely that this is not a final figure.

To date, 120 civil actions have been brought against 35 Dublin priests or priests who held appointments in the Diocese. 94 have been concluded and 26 are ongoing. 

Settlement of claims is running at over €12.4 million (€9.1m in settlements and €3.3 m in legal costs for both sides). The Diocese has spent in the region of €6 million in Child Protection and related services.  Related services, include costs incurred reviewing Diocesan files, work being carried out on files and records to assist with the Commission of Inquiry into the Archdiocese of Dublin, counselling and support services for victims of abuse and treatment of priests who have offended. Legal costs for priests who have offended are paid to the point where they are formally charged.

When Pope Benedict XVI met with the Irish Bishops on the occasion of their last ad limina visit he outlined essential elements of a policy regarding the protection of children: He said, “In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justices are fully respected, and above all, to bring healing to the victims and all those affected by these egregious crimes.”

Archbishop Martin reiterates an appeal, made many times before, that anyone with information regarding child sexual abuse by priests in Dublin makes contact with the Child Protection Service of the Diocese, the Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive or a counselling or support service of their choice. It is only by knowing the full truth of the past can we improve the levels of safety for children today.

Further information:
Communications Office: Tel 01 8360723; email communications@dublindiocese.ie; web www.dublindiocese.ie

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