Statement issued on behalf of the Independent Commission set up to investigate the handling of allegations of child sex abuse by the Church authorities.
Friday, 20th December 2002: Judge Gillian Hussey, Chairperson of the Independent Commission, announced that the Commission had decided, at its meeting this week, not to proceed with its review into how the Church authorities dealt with allegations
of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious.
Judge Hussey said that the Commission took this decision in light of the Minister for Justice’s stated intention to introduce legislation for a new procedure which would, inter alia, enable a detailed and focused investigation into how the Church authorities dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious.
“We have advised the Church authorities that, as the proposed national inquiry would appear to cover, largely, the same ground which the Commission had intended to cover, it would not make sense from the Commission’s perspective to continue as originally
envisaged,” she said. Judge Hussey said that the Commission felt that it was imperative that a thorough investigation into how the Church authorities dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious should be carried out.
“However the most important issue is not who carries out the investigation, but rather that it will ensure full accountability and assist the closure process for all those who have so tragically suffered,” she said.
Commending the members of the Commission, Judge Hussey said that she could not praise them highly enough for their commitment and support. “They brought a unique range of skills and experience to the task and, from the outset, showed a strong determination to carry out the Commission’s functions in a truly independent manner.”
“I thank the Irish Bishops’ Conference, the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) and the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) for asking me to chair the Independent Commission. I am grateful to the Church authorities for the courtesy they showed the Commission and for their support ” she said.
The Commission was pleased that the Government had clarified its intentions and encouraged those involved to proceed rapidly to finalise the detailed scope of its inquiry, and put the necessary legislation and structures in place and wished whoever may eventually take on this daunting task every success.
For further information, contact David Curtin, Curtin Communications.
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Response to Judge Hussey’s Announcement from Irish Bishops’ Conference, Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI), and the Irish Missionary Union (IMU)
Judge Gillian Hussey and her commission have informed us of their decision not to continue with the inquiry as announced jointly by the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Conference of Religious Ireland (CORI) and the Irish Missionary Union last June. This independent commission was set up primarily ‘to establish the extent of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland and the response of Church authorities to such abuse’. We accept and understand their decision in the light of recent Government announcements.
We sincerely thank Judge Hussey and the members of her commission for agreeing to take on this difficult and challenging work.
Our commitment to establishing the truth remains and in this context the national Garda investigation and the proposed State inquiry body will have our full co-operation. We look forward to learning the full detail of the inquiry in the New Year.
A secure and safe environment for children and young people in all church related activities remains our paramount concern. We are continuing to work towards the development of such an environment through the Child Protection Offices of the Irish Bishops Conference and CORI. We need and welcome the fullest involvement of parents, priests, religious and other lay volunteers to achieve this.
As we have done many times in the past, we again want to sincerely apologise to all those who have been abused by priests and religious in Ireland.
20 December 2002
Fr Martin Clarke, Irish Bishops’ Conference, 087-220 8044
Sr Elizabeth Maxwell, CORI, 086-8585016\ 01- 269 8011
Fr Joe Cantwell, IMU, 01- 4965466
Paul Bailey , Child Protection Office, Irish Bishops’ Conference, 086-244 0331
Wally Young, Young Communications 087-247 1520