Statement of Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry following the release of the Dublin report into clerical sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin
The Dublin Report provides a shocking catalogue of appalling crimes, committed by clergy and Religious over a significant number of years. The Report shows behaviour towards children which was evil in the extreme. It is to be hoped that those involved will be prosecuted.
The Report reflects a sad period in the history of the Catholic Church and Irish society when young people were let down by clergy and people in positions of leadership. It is a cause of great shame for the Church.
In October 2005, the Diocese of Derry put on public record information regarding allegations of child sex abuse made against priests of this diocese. Recently, (August 2009), the diocese furnished the HSE (Health Service Executive) with up to date figures, relating to the entire diocese, regarding priests who are still alive, irrespective of the place or date to which the allegation refers. Seventeen who were priests of the diocese at the time to which an allegation refers have had some form of child sexual abuse allegation made against them. In addition one priest, who was on loan to the diocese, has been convicted of child sexual abuse. There is also a number of allegations where the identity of the priest is unknown.
All allegations have been reported to the appropriate civil authority – PSNI, DHSSPS, HSE and Gardai. It is routine that all allegations are passed to the civil authorities, whose role it is, to investigate such matters.
The diocese again encourages anyone who has been abused to approach the civil authorities.
Issued on behalf of the Diocese of Derry by:
Fr. Michael Canny, Diocesan Media Liaison Spokesperson.