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Ó Caoláin condemns Vatican intervention on Cloyne

20 July, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking in favour of the all-party Oireachtas Motion on the Cloyne Report in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that it is high time that the Church stopped believing itself to be above the law. He asked how many inquiries would be needed before real action was taken on this “dreadful neglect”.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:

“While Sinn Féin supports this motion, we would have preferred to see the stronger language that was contained in a previous draft employed. The motion expresses how the House “deplores” the Vatican’s intervention which contributed to the undermining of the child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish state and the Irish Bishops. Previously the motion had expressed “condemnation”. We in Sinn Féin still express condemnation of this scandalous intervention.

“The Church is not above the law and it is high time that they stopped thinking that they were. Father Lombardi may state that his remarks have been made in a personal capacity but this is the sort of disingenuous double-speak that must end.

“In Cloyne, Bishop Magee had no interest in protecting the children of Cork and fobbed his responsibility off to Monsignor O’Callaghan who equally had no interest in reporting abuse of children to the authorities. John Magee actively, knowingly lied to the government, to the health services, and to the Gardaí. He concealed information about the crimes committed by the priests within his diocese. He actively engaged in the reckless, and at times, wilful endangerment of children. There are prosecutions to be faced by those who perpetrated crimes against children, either through directly abusing them or being complicit in the cover-up of their abuse. Nothing less, I fear, will bring to an end this lurid regime.

“While this motion may be about Cloyne, the State still has questions to answer regarding its own procedures. There is an overwhelming sense of déjà vu with all of this. Only this week we have heard of a Donegal case where a school premises continued to employ a man convicted of sexually assaulting a young male despite the Gardaí expressing concern on the matter.

“It is a wretched failure of procedure within that school entity, and demonstrates the need for the Government to bring forward the publication of the National Vetting Bureau Bill and to establish the long awaited child welfare and protection agency and I would ask the Government to resource these bodies accordingly. Procedures, as we have seen ad nauseum, are of no use unless they are implemented."

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