Monthly Archives: November 2009

Martin: Is there a paedophile ring?

Disturbing connections between abusing priests prompts Archbishop’s request to gardai for further investigation

By MAEVE SHEEHAN

Sunday Independent November 29 2009

THE ARCHBISHOP of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, asked the gardai (Irish Police) to investigate whether a clerical paedophile ring was operating in the archdiocese.

Dr Diarmuid Martin made the request to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations after he examined files on paedophile priests in recent years. He was disturbed by close connections between a number of clerics who were later convicted of child abuse, according to sources, and asked gardai to investigate.

The priests included Fr Bill Carney and Fr Francis McCarthy, neither of whom are any longer in the priesthood, and Fr Patrick Maguire, a Columban priest, who is living under the strict supervision of his order. The three are among 46 priests named in the damning report by Judge Yvonne Murphy which found “no direct evidence” of a paedophile ring but found “worrying connections” between a number of priests.

Fr Carney and Fr McCarthy worked together to prey on vulnerable children, visiting them in children’s homes and, in at least one instance, abused the same child. Fr Carney and Fr Maguire brought children on swimming excursions together. Fr Carney also claimed that Fr Maguire could vouch for him when he was under investigation for abusing some of those children.

Fr Dominic Savio Boland, whose real name is John Boland, called to the home of a child who had been abused by another priest, Fr Ioannes, and proceeded to abuse the child himself.

“There is nothing in the evidence available to the commission to show how Fr Boland became aware of this young boy,” the report said.

Another priest, Fr Horatio, was given the use of a holiday home by Fr Sean Fortune, a notorious child abuser in the Wexford diocese.

The report says that “Archbishop Martin has referred some of these matters to the gardai in recent times”. Sources close to the archbishop said he was concerned at the connections between the priests and asked the gardai to investigate whether a paedophile ring was operating in the clergy. A Garda spokesman declined to comment on a paedophile ring, but sources said all links between these priests and others in the archdiocese would be investigated.

The findings of the commission on child sex abuse in the archdiocese have had profound ramifications with mounting calls for the immediate resignations of serving bishops who are criticised in the report and a high-level Garda review of the report’s findings on collusion and cover-up.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday stopped short of repeating Fine Gael calls for the resignations of serving members of the hierarchy. In a statement yesterday, he said it was up to religious organisations to determine the “appropriateness” of individuals to hold ecclesiastical office. Catholic bishops are expected to issue a statement on the report today.

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