Support groups report rise in calls

The Irish Times – Monday, December 20, 2010

KITTY HOLLAND, PATSY McGARRY and PADDY AGNEW in Rome

ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING victims of childhood sexual abuse have reported a high volume of calls for help over the weekend, following publication of the Murphy report chapter about paedophile former priest Tony Walsh.

Publication of the chapter was approved after Walsh, who was previously jailed for sexually abusing six boys, was sentenced to 16 years for abusing a further three victims.

In Rome, the Holy See yesterday had no wish to comment on the previously redacted Murphy Report chapter. Senior Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said: “I have nothing to add to the comments made by the Archbishop of Dublin . . .”

Labour education spokesman Ruairí Quinn has renewed his call for the congregations to hand over the title deeds of their schools while maintaining patronage.

This follows confirmation he received in a parliamentary reply that Irish religious congregations have handed over just €20 million of the €348 million promised last year following publication of the Ryan report. In addition, more than €26 million remains outstanding from the original indemnity deal done with the orders in 2002.

In Ballyfermot, where many of Walsh’s victims were abused, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin spoke on December 12th in advance of the publication of chapter 19 and apologised to the people of the parish.

One of the organisations supporting victims of abuse, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said there had been a “steady flow” of calls not just from victims of abuse but from the family members and friends of victims.

Chief executive Ellen O’Malley Dunlop said “some of the most harrowing calls actually have been from parents of victims who didn’t believe their children when they told them they had been abused.

“These parents are absolutely heartbroken.” In some of those cases “their children have taken their own lives”.

Maeve Lewis, director of the One in Four organisation, said there had been “a big increase” in calls on Friday. Ms Lewis said “a lot of people calling were very upset and distressed and angry”. The telephone counselling service Connect was open over the weekend and experienced an increase in calls.

In Rome, Vatican insiders said yesterday that there was nothing very unusual about one of the most controversial aspects of the chapter, namely that the Roman Rota (Vatican Appeal Court) in 1994 initially partly overturned the Dublin canon law court’s 1993 ruling that Walsh should be laicised.

Canon law experts point out that the Rota, then as now, is extremely reluctant to annul sacred vows, be they marriage vows or be they a priest’s vows of ordination. The court may have been guilty of seeing paedophilia as a “disease”, comparable to alcoholism. It may also have felt that Walsh would be more controlled and supervised if he remained in the priesthood.

Whilst the Murphy commission points to the scandal of the 17-year-long failure of the Dublin Archdiocese to deal with Walsh, Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, took only two months to have him laicised following Cardinal Connell’s intervention with Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Martin, who served in the Vatican from 1976 to 2001, has also said any awareness he had of clerical child sex abuse in Dublin while he was abroad came from the media.

“The Archbishop [of Dublin] I knew best was Archbishop Dermot Ryan when he was living in Rome, where he was for a year before he died,” he said. “He [Archbishop Ryan] never once mentioned anything about abuse,” he recalled.

5 thoughts on “Support groups report rise in calls”

  1. its so very sad that thier fear of the church was stronger than the love thay had for thier children . i still remember Xs MAKING US SWEAR THAT WE WOULD NEVER RENOUNCE OUR FAITH EVEN IF IT WAS OUR PERENTS WHO ASKED US. WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE THE PLACE IN MY MIND WAS FULL OF NUNS SUCH AS Xs A NASTY MONSTER AND GOD WAS A NASTY MAN LIVING ON A CLOUD SPYING ON US . WHAT AN AWFUL LOT OF RUBBISH and it caused such pain and fear . i wonder how many children left ireland in fear .

  2. Paulene you are so correct there in what you say, but i would like to ask why is it only now that much is being made about this situation, It is nothing new, it has alway’s gone on, and indeed Irish Parent’s were brainwashed into never questioning the evil that is the R/C/Church.
    From the Gulag i served at ,in Co Cork, i was allowed home to Dublin for one month,and on my first day home , my Mother , concerned that i was distressed,and quite, asked me why, and i tried to explain how life was for me at that Gulag, and told her of the starvation, the beating’s, the flogging’s in the dorm’s at night by a paedophile nightwatchman, on poor sad Children who were bed wetter’s, the constant fear and terror we lived with daily, from the Religious and the older bully’s . i described quite a lot, but held back on the detail’s of the daily sexual abuse we were suffering!
    My Mother’s reaction was to go balistic, and scream at me that i was telling lie’s,that the Religious were nice folk who were educating and feeding us, and taking good care of us. When my Dad came home from work that night , She told him what i had said, and he reacted by dragging me down to the shed at the bottom of the Garden,and with a lenght of electric wire, trashed me within inch’s of my life, then dragged me back to the house, to my bedroom, and flung me accross the room, screaming at me that he was not finished with me, and calling me terrible name’s. In the middle of the night, i got out of bed, broke the lock of the gas metre, and filled my pocket’s with the old irish penny’s, and that enabled me me to get on a boat to liverpool, away from a mad man of a Dad, the Sick and Evil Religious, and a Country that i will never forgive for my ruined Childhood. Those evil bastard’s of the R/C/Church indeed brainwashed the Irish People, and ruled them with the fear that , sadly to this day, many still live with.
    Saint’s and Scholar’s?
    More like Sadist’s and Paedo’s!
    PAULENE THE TIME I AM TALKING ABOUT HERE, IS NOT THE PRESENT, BUT 1955. AND IT WAS NOT JUST BALLYFERMOT, IT WAS AT EVERY GULAG IN IRELAND THROUGHOUT THE LAST 100 YEAR’S OR MORE!

    SEASON’S GREETING’S TO EVERYONE
    Jimmy.

  3. i feel very sorry for the perents who were unable to believe that the priests abused thier children .thay were brainwashed into believing that these people could do no harm . to know that your child died because of abuse. and the terrable pain of not beeing believed is terrable.

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