October 25, 2005

Diocesan response condemned by inquiry

Irish Examiner

By Michael O’Farrell, Political Reporter
THE diocesan response to allegations of child abuse in Ferns, although varied over a span of 40 years, comes in for severe and damning criticism as successive bishops failed to protect vulnerable children from priests they knew to be abusers.

According to the Ferns Report, the response of the diocese began very badly under the stewardship of Bishop Donal Herlihy, improved slightly under Bishop Brendan Comiskey, and was vastly bettered by the arrival of the present Bishop Eamon Walsh in 2002.

In the case of Fr Sean Fortune, who committed suicide in 1999 while facing 29 charges of sexual abuse, the report concludes that it was "inexcusable" that the priest was "ordained and admitted to a vocation that required and provided unsupervised access to young people", despite allegations that had already been made against him.

"That a curate with Fr Fortune's history could open youth clubs and build reconciliation rooms in the basement of his house represented a serious lack of supervision and a failure to have regard for the dangers posed by a man with his history," yesterday's report states.

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 07:18 PM