Overhaul of Cloyne diocese operations

A MAJOR overhaul of structures and of senior personnel has taken place in the diocese of Cloyne since its dismal child protection record came to the fore at Christmas.

Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who has taken over the day-to-day running of the diocese from Bishop John Magee, has received a largely positive response from child abuse victims who accepted his invitation to meet him in recent weeks.

One victim said his attitude was “markedly different to that of his predecessor”, describing him as “more understanding and aware of the impact of child sex abuse”.

Cloyne’s former child protection delegate, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, who was replaced by Father Bill Bermingham shortly after the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) report was completed, retired his Vicar General post in recent months.

A spokesman for the Cloyne diocese said he stepped down from the post in February as he was beyond the official retirement age of 75.

Diarmuid Ó Catháin was also previously solicitor to the diocese, providing legal advice when required. His firm is no longer representing the diocese and the Dublin firm, Mason, Hayes and Curran now represents Cloyne in its dealings with the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation into clerical sex abuse.

Mason, Hayes and Curran provided legal advice to the Archdiocese of Dublin when dealing with the same Commission.

The Dublin section of the Commission report is due to be made public in the summer or early autumn.

It will go to the Government in May.

The diocese of Cloyne was sharply criticised earlier this year after a Church report found that it had put children at risk by either failing to tell or delaying telling gardaí and the HSE about child sex abuse complaints.

It emerged at the end of last week that gardaí are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions after interviewing a retired priest in Cloyne about two allegations of sexual abuse.

The priest, who is in his 70s, was questioned by detectives after he voluntarily went to Mallow Garda Station.

The allegations of abuse by the priest were made separately to gardaí a couple of months ago.


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