Bishop Murray resignation to be announced

THE Vatican is expected to announce the resignation of the Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray today.

Dr Murray was harshly criticised over his handling of sex abuse allegations while he was working in the Dublin Archdiocese and was one of a number of bishops singled out by the Murphy Commission report into the handling of clerical abuse cases in Dublin.

Bishop Murray travelled to Rome on Sunday last to discuss his future with the Pope and the church hierarchy.

Since then he remained in Rome awaiting a decision from his superiors.

Meanwhile, a retired garda who was ostracised by the Catholic Church authorities and neighbours after he complained about paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton over 25 years ago has called for bishops criticised in the Murphy Report to be the subject of a criminal investigation.

Former Detective Sergeant John Brennan from Valleymount, Co Wicklow, said he would prefer to see the establishment of a Garda inquiry into the conduct of how bishops handled such complaints rather than see any of them resign.

Mr Brennan made his remarks outside Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court yesterday after Naughton was sentenced to three years in prison with the final 12 months suspended for sexually assaulting a young altar boy in Valleymount in the early 1980s.

Naughton, aged 78, who pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault on the boy between 1982 and 1984, featured prominently in the Murphy Report.

At his sentencing hearing in Bray, Naughton’s lawyer apologised to his victim for crimes which Judge Michael O’Shea described as “shocking and horrific”.

The judge said the nature of Naughton’s abuse was “systematic, continuous and persistent” which had an “absolutely catastrophic” impact on his victim.

It is the second time that the elderly priest must serve a prison sentence for his sexual abuse of young altar boys.

In 1998 he was jailed for three years for indecent assault on boys in Donnycarney and Ringsend – where he was moved after Valleymount – although the sentence was cut to 2½ years on appeal.

He has been living under strict supervision with the Kiltegan Fathers in Co Wicklow since his previous release from prison, with no access to minors.

Last night, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said Naughton was “an abuser who damaged the lives of many innocent young people”.

Meanwhile, Kevin Flanagan, a campaigner against institutional child sex abuse has said he will start a seven-day fast outside the GPO in Dublin today in protest over inaction against abusers and those who concealed it.


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