Abuse victims support group One in Four has said new allegations surrounding Cardinal Seán Brady's role in the Brendan Smyth abuse scandal require an explanation from the Cardinal.
A BBC documentary last night claimed that information was given to an investigating team of clerics, including Cardinal Brady, in 1975 about other children who were being abused at the time, but that the information was not passed on.
The information uncovers how the Primate of All-Ireland was handed written names and addresses of three boys and two girls who were being abused or were at risk of being abused by Smyth in 1975 — 19 years before he was jailed in 1994. Four of the children were being abused, it later emerged. Two continued to be abused after the 1975 inquiry.
Despite having five names, Cardinal Brady only made contact with one of the children, a young man from Cavan. However, he did not tell the boy’s parents, gardaí, or the health authorities about the boy’s confirmation that he had been abused. He just sent a report to his bishop, who later barred Smyth from Confession and reduced his ability to complete public duties.
In a statement released before the programme aired last night, the Cardinal's spokesman said the then Fr Brady was a notetaker for the inquiry, and it was not his responsibility to inform the civil authorities.
A spokesman for Cardinal Brady denied he should now resign following his 2009 pledge. "The cardinal wasn’t a bishop in 1975. He was a priest who was asked by his own bishop to record evidence in a process that was headed by more senior clergy. Fr Brady had no authority over Brendan Smyth and the inquiry he was asked to assist in was under the management of his bishop, not him.
"Even today, it is the ‘designated person’ who has responsibility for reporting to the authorities, not the person who first receives or notes the details of the allegation."
Three years ago, Cardinal Brady said he would resign if he found himself in the situation where he was aware that any failings to act on his part allowed, or led, to any child being abused.
Executive director of One in Four Maeve Lewis said: "This is going to be heartbreaking for all those who suffered abuse after those first disclosures were made, because they know their suffering could have been avoided if only action had been taken."
Additional reporting from the Irish Examiner