Taoiseach stands over Vatican criticism

ENDA KENNY says he stands over his blistering criticism of the Vatican and has repeated his charge that Rome failed to co-operate with a state inquiry into child sexual abuse as little as three years ago.

However, the Taoiseach indicated that his claim related to the Vatican’s response to the inquiry into the Dublin archdiocese rather than the more recent inquiry into the Diocese of Cloyne, both of which were conducted by the same commission of investigation.

“My claim in the Dáil still stands, because this was a statutory commission of inquiry, and in 2006, and in 2007, and in 2009, there were requests for information and assistance (made) to the Vatican by the Murphy Commission, and in each of these cases, that request was either refused or rejected,” Mr Kenny said yesterday.

The Murphy Commission examined the Dublin archdiocese’s handling of abuse claims and its 2009 report revealed that the Vatican had snubbed requests for information from the inquiry.

The same commission then examined allegations of abuse by clerics in Cloyne.

That report was published this summer, and led to a thundering denunciation of the Vatican by Mr Kenny in the Dáil.

In that speech, he said Cloyne had proved to be of a “different order” to previous abuse reports “because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago”.

At the weekend, the Vatican said the accusation that it had attempted to frustrate an inquiry three years ago was “unfounded”, adding that Mr Kenny had made “no attempt to substantiate” the claim.

“In this regard, the Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or interfered in the inquiry into child sexual abuse cases in the Diocese of Cloyne,” the statement added.

But speaking at Fine Gael’s parliamentary party conference in Galway yesterday, Mr Kenny stood over his claim and indicated he had been referring to the 2009 Murphy report.

“I make the point that this is a statutory commission of inquiry, and as such, nothing less than full co-operation is required, and anything less than full co-operation in my view is unwarranted interference,.

“I want to see that the Church of which I am a member is absolutely above reproach in the issue of this and other areas.

“I want now to move onto a position where the Church and every other organisation will co-operate with the Government… so that every organisation… will understand that the law of the land will apply here, and that our paramount interest in this regard is children, their safeguarding and their future.”

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