Canon law expert Thomas Doyle has criticised the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland for his failure to investigate allegations that five more children had been abused by paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
Fr Doyle refuted Cardinal Brady’s contention that he had not failed the children in 1975 as he had filed a report on the claims to his bishop at the time. Cardinal Brady has long argued he was but a notary at that time and had no power.
Fr Doyle said: “‘I passed it up the chain’ is completely inadequate. I mean if he didn’t do it, he should have told the bishop the other families need to be notified. If you won’t do it I will do it. You know the man was not a robot. And these are human beings, that he is dealing with here... And so you know the information was very clear, the testimony that Brendan [Boland] apparently gave to them was very, very clear — and detailed as well as the names of the others.”
Last night’s BBC This World documentary also revealed how Cardinal Brady, according to his own handwritten note, wrote that he was “dispatched to investigate the complaint” about Fr Smyth. Such a statement gives him a role beyond notetaker.
In the programme, Brendan Boland — who at 14 was made go to the secret inquiry without his parents — said Fr Smyth started abusing him at the age of 11. The abuse carried on for two years. Eventually, he disclosed the abuse to a local priest who reported it to the Church and to Brendan’s family. Shortly afterwards in Mar 1975, the canonical inquiry was held.
Brendan Boland described being led alone into a room while his father was made to wait outside. “I felt alone, scared, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what they were going to ask me.”
Brendan told the priests about Smyth’s abuse — and about five other children the paedophile took on extensive excursions with him.
“I’d given them the names of the other children that were with me on the trips. There was a boy from Belfast, I gave them his name and address. There was a girl from Belfast. I gave them her name and address. There was a girl from Cavan. I gave them her name and address. And there was another boy from Cavan. I gave them his name and address. And there was another boy that was his friend.”
He also told the inquiry that he knew that at least two of the boys were being abused by Fr Smyth. “I told them that I witnessed one boy being abused. I told them that… that was the boy from Belfast. …I knew for a fact he was abused and the other boy from Cavan, he told me he was abused ‘cos he didn’t like going on the trips either.”
At the end of the questioning Brendan was given a Bible and told to swear and sign an oath of secrecy: “I Brendan Boland, do solemnly swear that I have told the truth the whole truth and I will speak to no one about this meeting only to authorised priests”.
“And then I signed it and the other signature on the document was Father John B Brady, now Sean Brady Cardinal of Ireland.”
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