Abuse victims attack commission over inquiry refusal

CLERICAL abuse victims have sharply criticised the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation for its refusal to investigate a second priest who they say abused them as children.

Two women lodged complaints against the two same priests in the diocese of Cloyne.

However, while the commission has accepted their complaint against one priest, a significant figure in their investigations, they could not accept the complaint against the second priest, as they said it was outside their terms of reference. The victims say the commission told them in recent weeks that under its terms of reference, they were not allowed start any new investigations into any new priests after March 2009.

The first woman lodged her complaint with the gardaí in May while the second woman made her complaint in June last year.

Both women gave evidence to the commission last September, including full details of their abuse by this second priest.

However, they only discovered recently that evidence against the second priest was not being used.

One victim said: “I have made my anger known to the commission as I was never made aware until recently that they wouldn’t be doing anything with the second complaint. I was always given the impression that both complaints would be investigated.”

The second victim said: “I don’t think they grasped the gravity of what he was up to. It was scandalous. We have been told that if more victims come forward that they could re-look at the issue. There are more victims. We know that. But they are all too scared.”

A commission member, Ita Mangan, said that under the terms of reference of the investigation they can only investigate complaints made between January 1, 1996, and February 1, 2009.

“We took the view that the first priest was within our remit as he was already in the system. The second priest was not,” she said.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation have said it expects to give their report on Cloyne to the Government in September.

Originally, it had been planned to hand it over in June.

However due to “secretarial delays” the commission indicated last week that it will report later.

It is understood that meetings have taken place and more are planned between the commission and the victims whose informal statements were given by the former Cloyne child protection delegate, Fr Bill Bermingham, to the accused.

The documents were handed over prior to Garda interview.


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