GARDA Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has rejected suggestions that the force was not up to pursuing clerical child sex abuses cases.
He dismissed claims that police experts from outside Ireland were needed. The Garda boss said the “undue deference” shown by gardaí in some cases exposed in the Murphy report would not happen “under his watch”.
He said an investigation set up last Friday into the handling by Church and state officials of cases in the Murphy report, was tasked to carry out any and every inquiry it deemed necessary.
He indicated that this could include going into the Archbishop’s House or carrying out arrests if need be.
In yesterday’s Irish Independent, Former Northern Ireland Ombudsman Maurice Hayes wrote that the gardaí should draw from other police forces that had investigated and prosecuted clerical child abuse “where there is not the same culture of deference to the Church”.
Commissioner Murphy said: “I want to say, because some people are saying I should be bringing in experience from abroad – I read it in one of the newspapers today – I have absolute confidence that An Garda Síochána has the experience and the capability, has the know how and is up to speed with best international practices to carry out these investigations.”
He said he had appointed Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, a “very experienced former detective,” to conduct the investigation.
“I’ve given him the authority to carry out due inquiries, so when I get that report by the Assistant Commissioner I will consult the DPP to see if there is criminal liability arising in respect of anybody across any sector of Church or state authority.
“I just want to say and assure the public, because my concern is in past times an undue deference was provided to people in the clerical institutions. It has no place in a criminal investigation. It certainly has no place in 2009 under my watch.”
He said as far as he knew none of the gardaí against whom adverse findings were made in the Murphy report were still serving.
Commissioner Murphy said he expected a preliminary report from AC O’Mahoney in a couple of weeks setting out how long the investigation would take.
He said the AC had the power to conduct arrests: “The law of the land applies in relation to arrests. It applies right across the board, be it people in clerical institutions, be it members of the public or An Garda Síochána.”
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