Clergy are accused of continuing to stonewall the claims of victims

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Clergy are accused of continuing to stonewall the claims of victims

By Edel Kennedy
Monday November 23 2009

BISHOPS are continuing to stonewall victims of clerical sex abuse, support agencies claimed last night.

One in Four director Maeve Lewis said the public are unlikely to be surprised by the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sex abuse crimes.

But she said they may be surprised to read that some gardai often dismissed abuse claims or said it didn’t fall under their remit.

Ms Lewis said this is something victims have often told them. And she warned that a number of bishops around the country are still refusing to openly accept and investigate claims.

“Even now a very legalistic approach is still being taken by some bishops,” she told the Irish Independent.

“This is very hurtful and very damaging to the victims.

“It’s time the Church took on board the fact that the sexual abuse of children was at the very core of the Catholic Church in Ireland.”

Mr Lewis added that it would be “helpful” to the victims if the Church stepped from behind the statute of limitations and accepted its responsibilities in the abuses.

Others branded the Catholic bishops “spineless capitalists” for covering up abuses and taking out insurance to protect the institution.

Last night ,Christine Buckley of the Aislinn Centre criticised Cardinal Desmond Connell for his handling of the abuses within his diocese.

Dr Connell went to the High Court to stop the commission getting access to 5,586 secret Church files, before later dropping the case.

“Why did they race to insure themselves? They understood perfectly well what was going on within the diocese,” Ms Buckley said.

She said there was a contrast between former archbishops — Dr John Charles McQuaid, Dr Dermot Ryan, Dr Kevin McNamara and Dr Desmond Connell — and their successor, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who had been a driving force in reform.

“The others are in complete contrast to Archbishop Martin who just cleans the filth out of the archbishop’s house,” she added.

Andrew Madden, who was abused by Fr Ivan Payne, said that what was happening in the Dublin Diocese could also be occurring in every diocese across the country.

He is also concerned the ‘old guard’ will come back into power and protection of children will no longer be a priority.

“I don’t have the same confidence in the child protection practices in the Church that I had,” he said.

“If the system is dependent on one or two people being good at fighting for the child’s rights, then the old guard could come back.”

He said that the important thing is to ensure that the same abuses never happen again.

– Edel Kennedy

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