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IRISH TIMES REPORTERS
Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh today said he did not believe the Murphy inquiry into child abuse should be extended to the rest of the State.
The report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the result of a three-year inquiry led by Judge Yvonne Murphy, was published yesterday. It found the “structures and rules” of the Catholic Church facilitated the cover-up of clerical child sex abuse and was critical of Bishop Walsh.
Dr Walsh, who was priests secretary under former archbishops Kevin McNamara and Desmond Connell, said it was his view the Dublin inquiry was a sample, with the pattern the same shown as in the previous Ferns inquiry.
“I would much prefer that we implemented the recommendations and put in place civil and legislative structures to live up to what we have found, but we could spend the next 15 years going around the country when we’d be far better using our time, energy and money in consolidating our church-protection services, our school-protection services and all of the legislation that will enable it.”
Speaking on Morning Ireland , Dr Walsh said the culture of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and fear of scandal having primacy over the rights of children within the Catholic Church was “dead and gone . . . and if it is not, that person should be”.
He said one of the biggest faults of the church structure was there was not proper communication. “Everybody was in their own little cocoon, and if they had some information . . . they kept it to themselves. As a result there was information but no co-ordination. Now that is very, very different.”
“When I was secretary, and it states it very clearly in the report, my role was that. . . of simply receiving messages, passing them on, but I wouldn’t be at the decision-making table, wouldn’t be privy to what was going on.”
He denied senior clergy involved in the abuse cover-up would now be left in place.
“Anyone . . . found not up to the job of protecting children then that person should go, and it’s up to each individual to examine their conscience and reflect very clearly, and discuss it with their own people, because each diocese is a unit, and if the people feel their bishop or senior person is not able to protect children properly, then that person should not be in the job.”
He said it was “most regrettable” the Vatican did not respond to requests from the Murphy inquiry for documentation relating to the handling to child abuse allegations. “I wouldn’t attempt to defend it, it’s from another era, it’s from the diplomatic corps era.”
When it was pointed out this rebuff took place in 2006 and 2007, the bishop said the Vatican “mentality” had changed.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said that all bishops named as being part of a cover-up should resign. He said people who were in positions if authority and knew what was going on should no longer continue in the position.