- Catholic Church - Ireland - justice
Second report into child abuse by Irish priests due
A second devastating report into child abuse in Roman Catholic institutions is set to be released, six months after a first report which shocked the Irish public.
AFP - Ireland's Roman Catholic Church braced for strong criticism in a new report Thursday on how it dealt with child sex abuse claims against priests in Dublin, the country's largest archdiocese.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned the findings of judge Yvonne Murphy would "shock us all".
They come just six months after a landmark report in May horrified mainly Catholic Ireland by revealing widespread sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children in Catholic-run institutions dating back to the 1930s.
Murphy's investigation is the first ever state probe of how the once powerful church runs its affairs in Ireland.
For the last three years, she has been looking at how the Dublin archdiocese dealt with reports that there were child rapists among the clerics working in its parishes in the Irish capital.
It has been alleged that when a claim of sexual abuse was made, the police were not informed and the accused cleric was simply moved to another parish.
The Sunday Independent newspaper said the report had found successive archbishops covered up the abuse, driven by a "desire to preserve the power and aura of the Church and to avoid giving scandal to their congregations".
Archbishop Martin has been conducting his own investigations, and a year ago said that more than 150 Dublin clerics had been probed about allegations of child sex abuse in the last 68 years.
Some 400 people had been identified who have either complained or are known or suspected to have suffered abuse by priests in Dublin, he said, adding that "it is most likely that this is not a final figure".
He said eight Dublin priests had been convicted in the criminal courts and three others were facing charges, while 120 civil actions have been brought against 35 Dublin priests.
"Settlement of claims is running at over 10.5 million euros (15.8 million dollars)," Martin said at the time.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern received the Murphy report in July but the findings have twice been before the High Court amid concerns that some of the revelations might prejudice ongoing criminal trials.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen's government considered the findings at a meeting on Tuesday and cleared them for publication.
Victims' groups were also briefed before they were made public, and the state's Health Executive Authority said counselling helplines had been set up to deal with the response.
The horrifying revelations in May's Ryan report about Catholic-run so-called industrial and reformatory schools, orphanages and other childcare institutions triggered a flood of calls from distressed victims.
A government redress scheme has already paid out about one billion euros (1.5 billion dollars) in compensation and legal fees to over 13,000 people who suffered abuse while in residential institutions.