October 25, 2005

Dangers of paedophile priests were ignored by Irish church


By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

TWENTY-ONE Irish Catholic priests sexually assaulted young boys and girls in parishes across Co Wexford over a period of 40 years, a damning report into clerical abuse revealed yesterday.

The Irish Government said that it would take immediate action to implement the recommendations of the report into the Diocese of Ferns, which is now regarded as the world’s leading centre for clerical sexual abuse.

The 271-page report catalogues 100 complaints of abuse, with one priest responsible for 26 assaults. The Ferns Report, which investigated allegations dating back to 1966, concluded that Church authorities, the medical profession and society in general failed to appreciate the horrendous damage which the sexual abuse of children causes. The report revealed that police investigations were wholly inadequate, while bishops in the Diocese of Ferns failed to take basic precautions to protect children.

Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, told TDs (Irish MPs)during Leaders’ Questions in the Dail: “It is a catalogue of serial abuse and gross dereliction of duty in the Diocese of Ferns. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. The report brings out the full horror of their situation . . . and catalogues the continuing failure to respond adequately in Ferns until recent years. It’s obviously shocking that it went on for decades.”

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 06:29 PM