State fears compromising prosecutions by publishing Dublin archdiocese report in full
John Downes, News Investigations Correspondent

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: says Dublin diocesan report will ‘shock us all’

The government may decide not to publish in full the names of priests identified in the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, even where they have been convicted of abusing children.

Unlike the landmark Ryan commission report into abuse at the state’s industrial schools, which decided controversially to give anonymity to every person it identified, the forthcoming report will name priests who have been convicted of abuse.

It has examined a representative sample of 46 out of a total of 102 priests who were suspected of abusing children in the Dublin diocese between 1974 and 2004.

But justice minister Dermot Ahern will have to seek his own legal advice about whether all of those identified in the report can be named in any version of the report to be published by him.

Both the commission and the government are concerned that the naming of individuals might hinder any current or future prosecutions.

As a result, the commission is understood to be considering leaving out the name of at least one priest which it had intended to identify for this very reason, although no decision has yet been made on this.

Ahern, who had been expected to receive a copy of the report this week, now appears unlikely to receive it until early next week.

This is because the commission is awaiting final responses from several people identified in the report, with a deadline for receipt of these set for the middle of next week.

A spokesman for Ahern could not say when the report, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has previously said will “shock us all”, will be published.

“His own plan would be to publish it as quickly as possible and in full. But the difficulties are if there are existing criminal investigations or potential future criminal investigations,” he said.

He added that it was “too early to say” if Ahern would publish a redacted version of the report to allow for any ongoing or future prosecutions.

“Obviously if it is anything like the Ryan report, it could be a nightmare scenario,” he said. “Whatever he does with it will be on foot of legal advice, but his own instincts would be to publish it in full,. He doesn’t want it sitting in a cupboard somewhere.”

A spokeswoman for the commission said the report is at “indexing and proofreading” stage and is now likely to be presented to Ahern next week.

While the report will identify priests convicted of abuse, it will not name individual victims unless they specifically request this.

“It is possible that, having submitted the report, the government might decide certain individuals wouldn’t be named,” she said. “We submit it to government and they publish it.”

June 28, 2009 The Sunday Tribune


2 Responses to “Government may not name abusing priests”

  1. Mary Cornish - Henderson says:

    A position paper on Identifying Institutions and persons under the Commission to Inquire into Child abuse Act 2000

    I Mary Henderson am the Only person named in the Report and also the fact I was charged and sentenced this gives the impression I was Charged for abuse.

    M Henderson

    Reference 7
    Identification the pros and Cons

    7.14 The Commission can nevertheless name the individuals it concludes have committed acts of abuse without referring to specific instances of abuse. A major purpose of any inquiry like this is to protect children from abuse in future. Concentration on investigation of specific cases detracts from this important function.

    rpetrators of abuse.

  2. Paddy says:

    This will be another cover up of that we can be sure

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