Despite the fact Ireland’s official Catholic Church hierarchy has yet to respond to Mr Kenny’s remarks, the Association of Catholic Priests said the Taoiseach has raised vital issues which have to be heard.
Speaking on RTÉ radio, the group’s spokesman, Fr Tony Flannery, said the Dáil speech highlighted an “enormous level of frustration and annoyance” from the public and well-meaning priests over how church leaders have failed to react to problems in the church.
The Galway-based cleric — whose group represents 400 of Ireland’s 4,500 priests a year after being established — went on to say that while what was said was difficult for some to hear, it is vital that people listen to what needs to be done.
“I was genuinely very happy with the speech. There was a dignity and strength in how he spoke. Maybe it will get through to the Vatican what needs to be done,” said Fr Flannery.
He added that the difficulties in Cloyne were not helped by the way in which the Vatican appoints bishops.
Fr Flannery said: “John Magee was a totally unsuitable person to be appointed bishop of Cloyne. It was not done for the people of Cloyne, but for other reasons.”
Fr Flannery’s open response is in stark contrast to that of the Catholic church’s official Irish communications office, which has yet to make any statement in response toMr Kenny’s speech to the Dáil on Wednesday.
Despite requests from the Irish Examiner on Wednesday evening and yesterday for a response to the historic speech and subsequent comments by archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Church hierarchy has yet to reply.
In the immediate aftermath of Mr Kenny’s speech, leading clerical child sex abuse survivors hailed the Taoiseach’s comments as a moment historians may one day describe as the time when Ireland became a genuine republic.
One in Four founder Colm O’Gorman said the remarks were “groundbreaking” and that there were not enough superlatives to explain just how important Mr Kenny’s comments are to the future of this country.
Abuse victim Andrew Madden added that the Taoiseach’s position was “a very welcome change in tone and content to the Government’s predecessors”.