The Taoiseach did not attend his usual 10.30am service at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar, yesterday but his stinging rebuke of the Catholic hierarchy’s attempts to cover up abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne found favour among the local faithful.
During Wednesday’s Dáil debate on the fallout from the findings of the Cloyne Report, the Taoiseach said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominating in the Vatican. The rape and torture of children had been downplayed to uphold the institution’s power and reputation.
“In one week Enda Kenny had shown more leadership than anyone else has in this country in the past four years,” said Castlebar man Padraig Costello. “He was 100% right in what he said. I’m not at all political but Enda Kenny has done two things this week that have finally given the country a bit of direction.”
Locals felt that the country’s leader was echoing the long-held views of a nation in relation to clerical abuse.
“It had to be said. It should have been said a long time ago,” commented Maura McEllin from Manulla, outside of Castlebar.
Others agreed that a public condemnation of the Vatican’s “narcissism” and “elitism” was long overdue.
“Enda was dead right. It was about time someone said it,” said Castlebar woman Carmel McSharry.
However, not all of his constituents were happy.
“It’s premature. His name isn’t even dry on the books yet. Way over the top in my opinion,” said one man en route to Mass.
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach was in Castlebar on Saturday for the launch of a new street festival in the town. He addressed the EU interest rate cuts and hopes for the future. “The big message is not just for Castlebar, not just for Mayo but for Ireland because the first thing we got them to do was to consider that we should act a unified Europe in respect of the problems facing our colleagues in Greece and other countries.”