Gardaí have submitted a number of files on clerical suspects to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who is considering whether or not to bring charges.
This Garda team — led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne — is examining the Murphy Commission’s report into the Cloyne diocese with a view to gathering evidence against clerical abusers there.
A dedicated Garda phone line was set up specifically for child sex abuse victims and others who had information about criminal offences in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a Garda spokesman said that “following on from calls received to the phone number set up by An Garda Síochána, a number of files have been forwarded to the DPP”.
Assistant Commissioner Byrne, who is in charge of Garda National Support Services, brought together a team of experienced detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), including its Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit (DVSAU), to conduct the investigation.
The DVSAU is the force’s specialist unit in this area and has been repeatedly praised by the Murphy Commission for the standard of its work, including investigations and prosecutions it previously undertook against clerics in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
After the publication of the Cloyne report, the current Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, said Asst Comm Byrne would examine it “to see whether, in addition to action already taken, any further action can be taken against the abusers referred to in it”.
The Byrne investigation is separate to a parallel Garda probe into how Church and state (Garda and HSE) bodies handled complaints and investigations involving child sex abuse.
This probe — led by Asst Comm John O’Mahoney — was set up after the Dublin diocesan report.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said on Wednesday that this investigation had already submitted files to the DPP.
Mr Callinan has asked Asst Comm O’Mahoney to extend his investigation into the diocese of Cloyne.
Meanwhile, gardaí declined to tell the Irish Examiner how many of the gardaí criticised in the Cloyne report were still serving and how many had retired.
A spokesman said that since the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was now carrying out an investigation, they could not comment on the matter.
GSOC are examining the Cloyne report and are expected to be in a position next week to say whether or not they will conduct an investigation.
*Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne’s investigation can be contacted on 01-6663612.