Investigation into Irish Church Uncovers Catalog of Abuse

November 26, 2009 Updated: November 26, 2009

DUBLIN, Ireland—A new report detailing the sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy between 1975 and 2004 in Ireland was published yesterday.

“The report leaves us in no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was tolerated and covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other church authorities,” the Irish government said in response to the publication.

The report was produced by The Commission of Investigation into Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese.

The Commission presented its findings to the minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in July 2009, but because of the sensitive nature of the report's findings, and pending criminal proceedings, it has not yet been published in full.

“The perpetrators must continue to be brought to justice, and the people of Ireland must know that this can never happen again,” the Irish government said in a statement.

“We all owe a profound debt to the victims of this injustice for their brave cooperation with the commission in its work. The remarkable selflessness they have shown, in the face of great adversity, is a beacon of light in a harrowing catalogue of the abuse of power.”

The government said that the main focus of those responsible for safeguarding the abused children was the “avoidance of scandal for the Church,” and the “preservation of the good name, status, and assets of the institution, rather than on the welfare of children.”

“The findings are shocking and raise the most fundamental questions for the church authorities,” the government statement said. The statement also pointed to the fact that certain government responsibilities were not carried out properly.

No Hiding Place

The Irish government said that those who committed the “abominable crimes” should be punished. They said that while the government cannot dictate how the churches are run, it “can and must ensure that all institutions are subject to the laws of the state.”

“This report makes for deeply shocking reading, even after all that has gone before it,” said Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland.

“Bishops in Dublin colluded with child abusers, protecting them and hiding them, enabling them to prey on the innocent. Children were deliberately sacrificed to protect the church. Dozens of priests and members of the clergy were involved,” he said.

O’Gorman added that the Irish government had in the past abnegated its responsibility to pursue similar claims of sexual abuse among the clergy.