Report ‘very concerned’ at Garda role

THE Cloyne Commission has said it is “very concerned” at the role of gardaí in three cases, including one where no investigation was carried out and another where a statement from a victim was left forgotten in a drawer.

The commission expressed its shock over “vanishing” interview notes of a complainant, a failure to keep proper records, and “worrying” discrepancies by a garda regarding the age of suspected victims.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has asked the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to examine the cases and take any necessary action.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan apologised to the victims in these cases. He said two of his top officers were examining the report to see if any investigations, including against the abusers, are warranted.

The commission said, overall, “most” gardaí involved in the investigations carried out their tasks “well” and treated the complainants with “compassion and dignity”.

In the first of three cases it raised concerns about, that of Fr Corin, the report said no evidence could be found to support claims by a superintendent in Macroom, Co Cork, that an investigation was conducted.

It said a register in Macroom Garda Station which would support the claims could not be found.

The commission said it was “surprised” the superintendent, now a chief superintendent, “persists in maintaining that there was an investigation”.

The commission provides disturbing details regarding a Limerick Garda Station relating to the same priest, but a different complainant.

It said the Health Research Board sent a notification about the complainant to the station, but gardaí were unable to provide the commission with this notice.

It said a female garda did take a statement from the complainant, which she gave to another garda. The commission said this statement “seems to have vanished” and no one could explain what happened to it.

Regarding a second priest, Fr Ronat, the commission said a statement taken from a young man “was put in a drawer by a garda who was soon to retire and then forgotten about”.

It was only found during searches as a result of commission inquiries.

“The Garda have given three different explanations for what happened in this case: none of them is convincing.”

In a third case, involving Fr Calder, the commission was concerned about “discrepancies” from Garda John regarding the age of suspected victims. It repeatedly criticised Supt Michael Murray for failing to keep records of conversations with Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan regarding Fr Calder.

Commissioner Callinan apologised to the victims in the three cases: “It is a matter of regret to me that people did not receive the appropriate attention and action from the Garda Síochána to which they were entitled. The policies and structures now in place are very much victim-focused and designed to ensure that no one has a similar experience today.”

He said Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne was examining the report to see if “any further action can be taken against the abusers”.

People can contact his team at 01-6663612.

He said Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, who was tasked with examining the handling of complaints and investigations in the Dublin Diocese, was extending his examination to Cloyne.

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