October 25, 2005

Change in law to follow Ferns report on 40 years of abuse

The Irish Times

The Government is to introduce new legislation to give children greater protection after an official report detailed a wave of sex abuse cases in the Catholic diocese of Ferns. Liam Reid and Patsy McGarry report

The report of the inquiry into clerical sex abuse in Ferns over nearly 40 years, which was published yesterday, strongly criticised the Catholic Church's handling of the cases, particularly by the former bishops of Ferns, Donal Herlihy and Brendan Comiskey.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, Dr Seán Brady, last night apologised to all who had suffered lasting hurt at the hands of abusers in the church. "The betrayal of trust is horrendous," he said.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said sexual abuse by priests had devastated the lives of those abused and their families.

Criticising the Ferns bishops, the report said: "Bishop Herlihy's failure to take even basic precautions to protect children from men known to have abused in the past must be seen as inadequate and inappropriate.

"Clearly Bishop Herlihy regarded priests who abused children as guilty of moral misconduct. He does not appear to have recognised that the wrongdoing was a serious criminal offence."

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 11:07 PM