Abuse in ireland

After the publication of new investigation reports on abuse cases in six Irish dioceses, politicians, victims and human rights activists have demanded state investigations. Some responsible bishops are severely criticized in the new report. In Derry, Northern Ireland, pedophile priests were often just transferred so they could abuse children in their new parishes as well, he said.

Family Affairs Minister Frances Fitzgerald, according to the Irish Examiner newspaper (Thursday), said the reports by the church's child protection committee "do not represent a national assessment of the current child protection arrangements in the Catholic Church".

Further investigation called for
Opposition Fianna Fail party children's policy spokesman Charlie McConalogue said the findings called for further investigation into the role of church as well as state institutions. According to the newspaper, the executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, Colm O "Gorman, said he still had concerns despite signs of improvement in child protection in the Catholic Church. "We must be aware that these reports were published only with the consent of the bishops concerned," said O "Gorman.

According to the victims' group "One in Four," the survey reports showed "great progress" in cooperation between church and state authorities. Many of those affected were nonetheless disappointed that the church leadership's handling of the abuse cases had not been better illuminated, he said. One victim described the investigations to the Irish Examiner as a "joke"; they neglected those victims who had not made a formal complaint. A state investigation is needed.

The Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, warned against forgetting child abuse in other areas of society because of the "excessive" focus on sexual abuse in the church, according to media reports. Child abuse occurs in all walks of life, McAreavey says. His personal efforts in investigating the incidents in his diocese had been specifically praised in the investigation reports.

164 complaints against 85 priests
In all, the documentation released Wednesday by the church's National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) records 164 complaints against 85 priests over the period from 1975 to 2010 in the six dioceses. The documentation lists all reported incidents as well as the measures taken by the church leadership.

Some responsible bishops are severely criticized by the committee. In Derry, Northern Ireland, pedophile priests were often just transferred so that they could abuse children in their new parishes as well. Many cases were inadequately documented and reported late, he said. The panel also criticized the lack of consistent guidelines for dealing with abuse cases.

"No one will be able to make amends for the horrific evil"
Derry's Bishop Seamus Hegarty (71) had resigned from his post last week for health reasons. Diocesan administrator Eamon Martin, who was appointed just days ago, apologized to the victims in a press release. "Today will be another painful day for you. No matter how positive the current efforts of the Church are described, no one will be able to make up for the terrible evil that has been done to you."

The report accuses the three bishops who led the Raphoe diocese during the investigation period of "wrong decisions". They include Hegarty. In none of the documented cases, he said, had there been any assessments of what danger the priests in question posed. He said church leadership had treated victims and accused unequally. As a result, clergy and their relatives received personalized support, while victims received inadequate support, she said.

Particularly in focus: the diocese of Raphoe
Raphoe's acting bishop, Philip Boyce, had personally opposed the laicization of a priest in order to spare his family, the report said. The number of abuse cases in the diocese is particularly high, at 52.

However, the committee also named progress. Suspected cases are now reported immediately to the authorities. The church has taken important steps to implement child protection measures, it said. The dioceses of Ardagh and Kilmore are expressly praised. In the coming months, the panel plans to investigate the other Irish dioceses as well.

Boyce, meanwhile, apologized to victims via the press. In the past decades "very bad decisions were made and mistakes were made". "We humbly apologize to the victims and ask forgiveness for the terrible pain inflicted on him and their families."

Review: State Cloyne report made serious allegations against Vatican
In July, a state investigation report into child abuse in the southern Irish diocese of Cloyne had been published, containing serious allegations against the Vatican and then-Bishop John Magee. The report provoked harsh criticism of the church leadership by the government and a diplomatic disagreement with the Vatican.

The chairman of the church's committee, John Morgan, said at a press conference that the goal of the investigations is to convince parents, children, lay people and priests of the effective implementation of the church's child protection guidelines. In addition, she said, it should be shown that the commission is highlighting shortcomings and introducing measures for improvement.

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Christina Cherry
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