Perversion of justice if oath stopped report to gardaí

Perversion of justice if oath stopped report to gardaí
ANALYSIS: Had the complainants or church authorities gone to gardaí (Irish Police) in 1975, Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse could have been stopped then, writes CAROL COULTER, Legal Affairs Editor

WHEN SEÁN Brady heard allegations in 1975 from two children that they had been abused by Fr Brendan Smyth, it was not the first time Smyth’s activities had been revealed. They had been known to his superiors in the Norbertine order for a number of years prior to then.

Born in Belfast in 1927, Smyth joined the Norbertines in 1945 at the age of 18, and was ordained in 1951. He spent short periods in Scotland, Wales and the US, before returning to Ireland, where he had no formal ministry, but did summer relief work and work in hospitals.

From the beginning of his ministry he organised activities that would bring him into contact with children – for example choirs, catechism classes and altar boy training sessions.

When he was first convicted of child sex abuse in 1994, the then Norbertine abbot, Fr Kevin Smith, who resigned following the controversy, acknowledged that the order had made mistakes in dealing with Smyth. He said his “problem” with children emerged soon after his ordination, and the policy of the order at the time was “frequent reassignment”, which he acknowledged was inadequate.

Fr Smith also revealed that between 1968 and 1993 Smyth was referred repeatedly by his order for treatment in England, Belfast and Dublin. During this time he abused hundreds of children, among them a number of children in Langdon, North Dakota, where he served for a time in the 1980s.

In 1994, Fr Smith admitted that on two occasions Smyth was sent to do parish work in the US, where the bishops were not told of his paedophilia. There he set up “server training sessions” for altar boys.

It was reported that six boys were abused there. One of them subsequently sued. The case was settled without admission of liability for a reported six-figure sum from church insurance funds.

Following the 1975 complaints, the diocese of Kilmore took steps to remove Smyth from ministry as a diocesan priest. However, he continued to minister as a priest of the Norbertine order, and no meaningful restrictions were placed upon him.

Following Smyth’s conviction in 1994, Norbertine priest Fr Bruno Mulvihill told The Irish Times that he had repeatedly tried in the late 1960s to inform senior members of the order about Smyth’s paedophilia, but to no avail. He said that in the late 1960s a “strict decree” was issued in Rome that he was not to leave the abbey premises alone or without permission, but this was ignored.

Smyth did not come to the attention of the police until 1990, when complaints were made to the RUC by a Belfast family.

On May 4th, 1993, the British attorney general wrote to the then Irish attorney general, Harry Whelehan, addressing the letter to him personally and seeking Smyth’s extradition. However, he was not informed of the letter for seven months. By then, Fr Smyth had returned to Northern Ireland voluntarily and handed himself over to the RUC.

On January 21st, 1994, Smyth was convicted in Belfast of a number of offences against children. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

More charges followed, and in September 1995 he was convicted on 16 charges relating to offences alleged to have taken place against 13 children in various locations in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1988. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

In 1997 he was extradited to the Republic to face 74 charges against 20 injured parties between 1969 and 1991. He pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court on July 25th that year and was sentenced to 12 years’ jail.

Three weeks later, on August 22nd, he died suddenly of a heart attack in jail. He was buried in Kilnacrott Abbey in a pre-dawn ceremony at 4.15am in the presence of a number of Norbertine priests and a handful of local people.

The two children interviewed by the then Fr Brady in 1975 were a boy (10) and a girl (14). The latter subsequently initiated a civil case for damages against Cardinal Brady, the Bishop of Kilmore and the Abbot of the Norbertines.

The case, which began in 1997, was mentioned in the High Court last December when the statement of claim was amended.

Had the complainants who came forward in 1975 or those in authority in the church who heard their complaints brought their allegations to the Garda, it is arguable that Smyth could have been stopped then.

What is particularly serious is whether the complainants were prevented from going to the Garda by the oath of secrecy they took. This would amount to a perversion of the course of justice.

  1. Sometimes it almost looks like the RC Church in Ireland must have some terrible dirt on Fianna Fail.

  2. BARRY


  3. It`s heartening to know that Sean Bradys little speech of atonement in Armagh yesterday has most probably cost his church a couple of hundred million in compensation to the victims abused by Smyth since 1975.

  4. Connie Francis is back in vogue AGAIN, WHO`S SORRY NOW, WHO`S SORRY NOW, WHOSE HEART IS ACHING FOR BREAKING HIS VOWS, and so on. IS Brady sorry , is he REALLY sorry . Short answer, of course not. Why should he be.

    This week he is quoted as stating that he did not tell his wholly father in rome that he was au fait with the activities of the marauding clerical paedophile Smyth. Is such a thing relevent, YES.

    Unfortunately for Brady, he has not thought this thing out, self preservation being a highly emotive and stressful situation can at times cloud one`s inner thinking. Presently, Brady has fallen prey to just that type of stress.

    A short examination of Bradys utterances over the past few days would leave him somewhat “exposed” at the hands of a sharp lawyer. And NO DOUBT the FIRST question being put to Brady by just such a lawyer may go something like this. “cardinal, in 1975 you were a priest, a teaching priest while also studying “canon law”. In your prepared statement cardinal, it says you were instructed by your bishop to conduct an interview of two children who were alleging rape, and other sexual crimes of an unnatural beastial nature committed by a priest licensed by your bishop to perform the sacraments. At the conclusion of these interviews, you state quite clearly you believed these children, and on foot of that, prepared your findings to be handed to the bishop for action.

    You state that over the years you have been “troubled” by the notion that you should have done more, but as a lowly curate , and acting in the capacity of “secretary” while hearing the “allegations” of these troubled and abused children, you felt, in your words, you had “done your duty”, in fact, you state in support of your intervews, that Smyth was eventually disbarred from certain duties, confession etc.

    1975 is now a long way of cardinal, and in a meteoric sense, you have climbed high up the ecclesastical ladder,as your present position denotes. You are currently the “leader” of some four million plus catholics.

    In the past fifteen years, you have been to the forefront in advocating more stringent and better protection for children in area`s where such abuse might occur, and your “determination” to stamp it out is well known, in fact you have left no stone unturned in your efforts to this cause.

    No doubt cardinal, you followed the trial of this Brendan Smyth 1996, or was it 1997, by which time you were a bishop, or was it an archbishop. Did the past come rushing back to haunt you as the revealations of Smyths deplorable and unnatural sexual proclivities were laid bare in court. Did you not feel an unconscionable need and urge to right your wrong of the past and give aid to the childremn in court who were giving testimony against Smyth. Did you not feel an opportunity was there for you to ENSURE this Smyth got his just desserts. Could you not have helped the court in revealing your knowledge of Smyth going back, at that time, some twenty two years. Would you have remained SILENT had a NOT GUILTY vedict been returned in Smyths favour. On what basis cardinal, did you feel that it was not incumbent upon you during the trial of Brendan Smyth to offer the knowledge in your possession that Smyth was indeed a serial sexual abuser of children.

    Are you aware cardinal, of the number of children sexually and brutally abused by Smyth following on from 1975 to when Smyth was eventually brought to trial. Are you aware cardinal, that several of Brendan Smyths victims went on to take their own lives, not just in this Country, but also in America.

    Are you aware of these grave matters cardinal , AND IF NOT, WHY NOT.?

  5. Amidst all the dust currently swirling around this cardinal Brady, is there a chink of light beginning to appear.

    Who orchestrated this “public disclosure” to Bradys involvement when in 1975 he was , as a “humble lowly secretary”, asked to take notes on behalf of his bishop when “interviewing” these children.?

    If there is a pending court case concerning this matter, do the rules of sub-judice not apply here.?

    Or is it a question of Sean`s “legal advisors” preparing the balm before the sore becomes septic.? Load`s-a-skullduggery here.


    Chicago came to Armagh yesterdy. RAT-A-TAT-RAT A-TAT, as the cardinal Brady machine gunned Irelands National day of celebration.

    As an act of self gratification to share his “pain” with the world, it has given a new meaning to self indulgent selfishness.

    As the THREE HUNDRED celebrants CLAPPED him to the altar of deceit, the evident “joy” of his appearance in scarlet, load`s-a-bling, and a funny hat brought further applause.

    Reality resumed when all three hundred celebrants were returned to their respective psychiatric care homes, having enoyed a nice day out.

  7. Cowen is yet another ostensibly educated man and a lawyer to boot, although it appears that mammy kept him at home the day they were discussing perversion of the course of justice in college.

    There is no excuse whatsoever for someone with legal training to mumble that these matters are internal matters for the church.

    He had a duty to ensure that the legal systems in Ireland are upheld. Instead he’s just reverted to think Offaly peasant mode.

    Not good enough. Nowhere near good enough.

  8. As Brian Cowen stated yesterday, while enoying the luxuries America has to offer, !the church has it`s space, the State has it`s space! , and never the twain etc——

    The Office of Taoiseach can surely do better than a bland like Bertie type statement coming from Cowen. The role of the State is a general judgement on the activities of the various organisations which in essence embody the State. The State can judge whether it can welcome ability, and function, among the kindred institutions which form the meaning of a “culture” within a Sovereign and Democratic process, underpinning its particular “identity” as the world see`s it.

    Where the State cease`s to exercise it`s legitimate authority is when it presumes to decide upon question`s which define the limitations of “moral authority” as having a basis in law. No such precept exists as “moral authority” in the shape of “canon law”, as espoused by it`s lunatic adherents as some sort of placebo to the brutal rape of children, or any other “law” being claimed by an obscenely disgraced church. The State represents the general wisdom of it`s many communities who act and live within the ambit of the Constitution, that surely cannot include such a feral organisation as the catholic church.

    The State has to desist from a gross ignorance of it`s proper and lawful function as it continues to defie the national revulsion presently being displayed concerning a corrupt and criminally led hierarchy, responsible for the perpetration of brutal and unnatural acts of sexual beastiality upon innocent children.

    The State must recognise that “religious loyalty” in the shape of political inaction, cease`s at the frontiers of radical incapacity, such incapacity was reached following the Ferns Report, and hot on its heel`s came the Ryan Report, the Mc Coy Report and the Murphy Report.

    The State has to dispense with the current “legal fictions” which it drones on about concerning the “lawful” pursuit of justice to the victims and survivors of these clerical paedophiles. So far, the State has provided meaningless drivel tinged with futile gestures of consciousness, and in the case of many politicans and the DPP`S office, unconsciousness. This “balance” , fortunate or unfortunate, has always depended on the “social inheritance” granted by the church to State TO GOVERN.? What one could safely refer to as Mc QUAIDS LAW.

    In the end, nothing is effective against injustice except a massively co-ordinated display of unanimity and uniformity to achive a lawful common goal, that goal has to be against the INACTION of this State to an “inheritance” of MUMBO JUMBO and men wearing mackarel hats and pretty dress`s, who still , through their Nanny in rome , “”rock the cradle”” of many Irish Politicans, and the hand that ROCKS THE CRADLE !!!!!!!! Have a nice St Paddys Day.

  9. barry clifford phone: 0877511113

    The Prime Minister of Ireland, Brian Cowen, stated that the cover up of a priest and serial child abuser, Brendan Smith, by the men who called themselves priests, should be handled like this: “I think obviously matters that are considered within the church’s authority have to be done so by the church authorities regardless of the fact that it was a very long time ago, 35 years ago.”
    The man who helped cover it up, a man called Mr. Brady, summed it up like this: “We are now judging the behaviour of 35 years ago by the standards we set today and I don’t think that’s fair, it does not apply to other sectors of society.”
    He agreed he knew he was dealing with crimes in the canonical inquiry “but I did not feel it was my responsibility to denounce the actions of Brendan Smyth to the police”.
    This is where the lunatics have taken over the asylum, it is also where Cowen and Brady have at last found common ground. It is indicative of a relationship that may not be cosy anymore, but is bonded together by a desperate front that is steeped in recent history. Bonded together now by the commerce of that history, in has become a virus that is imploding in their face and darkening their soul.
    The pillar of any society lies in its schools, hospitals, colleges, and universities. It lies in its social services, community centres, its charities. The reality is the Catholic church in Ireland owns most of them. That and what is left is grant aided by taxpayers money. The profits are diverted to a foreign state who has more money than they possibly can spend, but will not part with. They will leave Ireland return to a backwater state leaving its people begging them for a handout. Still we do nothing, nothing, nothing.
    We are still shocked, outraged, angry, amazed, stunned, and frightened, and still we do nothing about. We do talk, boy, do we love to talk, but rarely have a conversation of things that matter. The Bishops live in palaces, Cowen is driven about in chauffeured limousines, the banks are billions richer on loans that were taken out in your name without consent. You great grandchildren are guarantors for those loans even though not born yet. Many builders bought their way into heaven on the greed and corruption of the old boys network of the above, so what are you going to do about it now. What have you done about it and what are you going to do. Like you I am as mad as hell!!!!!!!!!!
    Corruption will always flourish without transparency and accountability. It breathes freely in every vein of commerce here and must stop now!!!
    Our march on the 24 march may be about justice for survivors of institutional abuse; it may be about abuse everywhere and the pandemic that is; ultimately our journey is about everyone else and the penalties for inaction in whatever cause or fight we struggle to win. Our struggle carries with it the cautionary of the ages where the sheep only thinks she is a lion, and the lion itself knows that he is a sheep. Only in battle can you ever tell the difference by the actions of either. Our march may well show it under the banner of Fire And Ice.
    Barry Clifford
    Email: ph: 0877511113
    March: 24 march 2010 Pro Cathedral 11:30 am, and bring your own teabags
    It is time for everyone to come on home

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