Magee under pressure to face fallout

PRESSURE is growing on Bishop John Magee to return home to deal with the fallout from the damning Cloyne report, as the Government demands answers from the Vatican regarding its “inappropriate intervention” in child protection here.

Dr Magee has not been seen at his Mitchelstown home for the past month and is believed to be in the US, although there was speculation that he may be in Rome.

Yesterday, other Church figures said they would have preferred it if he had been present to deal in person with the publication of the Cloyne report on Wednesday, which castigated his mistakes in failing a number of alleged victims of clerical child abuse in the diocese.

Groups operating victim phonelines reported hundreds of calls since the report’s publication, while the Government again outlined its intention to shore up child protection.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the proposed measures — which include making it an offence not to report any knowledge of child abuse to Garda or health authorities — would “not be stopped by crozier or by collar”.

His comments followed a meeting between Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, at which Mr Gilmore demanded a Vatican response to the Cloyne report.

The report highlighted how the Vatican had told senior Church figures that child protection guidelines were to be treated as a study document, an approach Mr Gilmore described as a “totally inappropriate, unjustified, unacceptable intervention” in the laws of this country.

The papal nuncio expressed remorse at the report’s findings, which will be forwarded to the Vatican. The Tánaiste said he had not set a deadline for a response, but would decide what constituted an adequate timeframe.

Mr Gilmore labelled the Vatican’s role in the affair as “disgraceful”, while Fine Gael party chairman Charlie Flanagan said the papal nuncio should be expelled.

With pressure being piled on the Vatican, there were more calls for Bishop Magee to return.

One In Four director Maeve Lewis said the group had received 92 new calls since the report was published and said she expected more civil cases would be launched.

Of Dr Magee, she said: “I think some of the survivors would like to hear from him. To my mind, the level of negligence in the Diocese of Cloyne means that both himself and Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan should be facing criminal charges.”

Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh Gerard Clifford told RTÉ Radio: “I believe Bishop Magee should have been here for the publication of this report. I don’t know where Bishop Magee is, but I feel he is the key person in all of this.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that Dr Magee should not be excluded from the prospect of a jail term if he is prosecuted as a result of investigations into the Cloyne report.

Bishop John Buckley of the neighbouring Cork and Ross Diocese said he was “very saddened” at the Cloyne revelations.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.