Sex abuse chapter to be published

A CHAPTER of the Murphy Report detailing child sex abuse carried out by former priest Tony Walsh will be published next week after a High Court ruling yesterday.

The report outlines clerical child sex abuse in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese, but chapters 19 and 20 were withheld as they detailed activities relating to two men who were both the subject of legal proceedings.

In October last year Mr Justice Paul Gilligan ruled that chapter 19, relating to former priest Tony Walsh, and which contains 21 other references to him, should not be published until the case against him was finalised.

On December 6 Mr Walsh was jailed for the sexual abuse of three boys and sentenced to 16 years, with four suspended. He was found guilty on 17 counts of sexual abuse.

The Department of Justice, who had long maintained that it wanted the details regarding Mr Walsh to be made public, said it was likely to be next Monday before the chapter will be published.

At one point in his career as a priest Tony Walsh was in charge of more than 60 altar boys and attracted national media attention as the ‘singing priest’.

The Murphy Report outlines how other members of the clergy were aware that he was perpetrating abuse against young boys.

Yesterday anti-abuse campaigners and support groups welcomed the news that Chapter 19 will now be published. The director of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, said: “The decision to redact chapter 19 last year was a wise one, but there are no impediments to publishing it in full now that the justice process is completed.”

Director of One In Four, Maeve Lewis, said she was “very, very glad” that the High Court had ruled that the chapter should now be published.

“This chapter is going to highlight even more the way in which the archdiocese failed to protect children,” she told RTÉ’s News At One radio programme.

She said there was speculation that Tony Walsh abused more than 100 children.

Tony Walsh had been a curate in Ballyfermot in Dublin, and last Sunday Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin addressed parishioners there, again expressing his sorrow at what had occurred.

At a Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot he said: “I apologise unreservedly. As I look back, I see more clearly that the catastrophic manner in which the abuse was dealt with was a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Irish church.”

The opposition urged the Government to publish the chapter as soon as possible, with Fine Gael spokesman for children Charlie Flanagan welcoming the High Court decision.

“The publication of missing chapter ... is the next vital step in exposing the institutional abuse of children by the Catholic Church,” he said.

“It will also represent long-awaited recognition for the heroism of his victims.”

No court decision has yet been made regarding chapter 20 of the Murphy Report.

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