Child protection update by the Archdiocese of Dublin

01 May 2007


1st May 2007

Child Protection Update by the Archdiocese of Dublin

Since his appointment as Archbishop of Dublin three years ago, it has been the practice of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to put on the public record regular updates of statistics concerning allegations of child sexual abuse made against, or suspicions raised about, priests of the Archdiocese, or priests from Religious Congregations or other Dioceses who have worked in Dublin.

Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime and Archbishop Martin acknowledges again his deep sadness and regret at the fact that children have been sexually abused by clergy and religious. He also reiterates his appeal 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.

This statement is a further update of information published over a year ago. New information continues to come to light as a result of an extensive audit of Diocesan files and other work carried out on behalf of Archbishop Martin. This includes further 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.

    * Allegations have been made against 74 priests of the Diocese.
    * Suspicions have been raised concerning 10 priests of the Diocese.
    * Allegations have been made against 48 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses who held an appointment in Dublin.
    * Allegations have been made against 13 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses, who did supply in Dublin.
    * Suspicions have been raised concerning 2 Religious priests who held appointments in the Diocese.

There is also information regarding priests who may be the subject of an allegation and whose names it has not been possible to identify.

These statistics date over a period of 67 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 380 people have been identified who have either complained or are known or suspected to have suffered child sexual abuse. It is most likely that this is not a final figure.

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’.

8 priests have been convicted in the criminal courts. 3 priests who have been the subject of allegations of child sexual abuse are currently before the courts.

To date, 112 civil actions have been brought against 32 Dublin priests or priests who held appointments in the Diocese. 72 have been concluded and 40 are ongoing.

Settlement of claims has amounted to €7.8 million (€5.6m in settlements and €2.2 m in legal costs for both sides). Since 2003 the Diocese has invested in the region of €3 million in Child Protection service and related services.