Personal Statement of Bishop Séamus Hegarty

30 Nov 2011

Personal Statement of Bishop Séamus Hegarty Following Publication of Safeguarding Reviews in Diocese of Derry and Raphoe

About this time last year, as Bishop of Derry, I asked the National Board for Safeguarding Children to include the Diocese of Derry in the first group of dioceses being reviewed.  I am grateful that they agreed.

The Derry Report indicates that the police and Social Services have full confidence in the current management of allegations in the Diocese of Derry.  However, both the Derry and the Raphoe Reports indicate deficits in the management of allegations historically, including during my time as bishop.  These deficits cannot be undone and, at the personal level, I am sorry that this is the case.

I was a diocesan bishop for thirty years, first in Raphoe and later in Derry.  I now look back and know that my practice in the past was sometimes poor and I am deeply sorry that anyone was hurt through my management of allegations historically.  I know that I made big efforts to improve as time went on and this is reflected in the Derry Report.

Today I think of the men and women whom I met, over my years as diocesan bishop, who were abused as children by priests.  I think of their courage and their pain and pray that healing may be theirs.  It is for their sake, as well as for the good of children throughout the Church, that we must ensure that the past is never repeated.

+Séamus Hegarty
Retired Bishop of Derry


Issued on behalf of Bishop Hegarty by: Fr. Michael Canny, Diocesan Media Liaison Spokesperson, Diocese of Derry (Tel. 00 44 (0) 7801 953720 )

  • Bishop Séamus Hegarty was Bishop of Raphoe from 1982 until 1994.
  • Bishop Hegarty was Bishop of Derry from 1994 until 2011.
  • Recently, Bishop Hegarty submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict, along with medical reports, due to an irreversible and progressive health condition, for which he is receiving medical treatment, and which rendered him unable to fulfil the role of Diocesan Bishop.  Pope Benedict accepted his resignation.