Gardaí probe attack on retired bishop

Dr Bill Murphy: The retired bishop of Kerry was punched in the face by a man angered at the diocese's response to child abuse.

The retired bishop of Kerry was punched in the face on a train by a man believed to have been angered by the diocese’s response to child sexual abuse.

Gardaí in Killarney are investigating the attack.

Bishop Murray was said to have been very shaken by the assault, and a passenger in the same carriage came to his assistance

The man, in his 30s, is alleged to have approached Bishop Murphy in a carriage after the train had left Mallow Station on the morning of August 6 and punched him in the face.

A male passenger sitting in the same carriage intervened and asked the man to leave the bishop alone.

It was reported in the Kerry’s Eye newspaper that the man had been drinking during the journey.

After the exchange, the alleged attacker was escorted from the carriage by two Iarnród Éireann staff.

Gardaí were waiting on the platform in Heuston Station, but it is unclear whether the man was arrested.

Bishop Murphy had been travelling with his brother, Archdeacon Michael Murphy.

The retired bishop is believed to have been very upset after the incident, which occurred on the 7.30am Killarney-Dublin train on August 6

“This unfortunate incident happened over a month ago and it has been reported to the gardaí,” a spokesperson for the Kerry Diocese said this week.

“The incident has also been brought to the Designated Liaison Person for Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Kerry.”

In an interview at the time of his retirement in July, 2013, Bishop Murphy described the child sex abuse scandal in the country as the most difficult time during his 18-year tenure as bishop of Kerry.

Three years earlier, he responded to the release of Judge Yvonne Murphy’s report into abuse by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, saying he was deeply saddened and shamed by the content.

“I want to offer my sincere sympathy and regret to those who have experienced child sexual abuse, even though I realise I can never fully understand the depth of their suffering and pain,” he said.

“The report documents evil and criminal activity and highlights a dreadful failure to respond to it appropriately.

“I renew my appeal to all who were sexually abused by clergy to come forward if they have not already done so. I assure them that they will be treated with respect and dignity.”


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