The Murphy Report was published in 2009, following an investigation into child sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin. At the time of its publication, certain material was held back for legal reasons. The redacted Chapter 19was published in December 2010, and now Chapter 20 has been released and it paints a horrifying picture. The archbishops of Dublin were not only aware that their priests were raping children but, despite the impression they sought to create in subsequent years, were also fully aware that the activities of those priests were criminal in nature.
They failed to report the crimes to our national police force, but perhaps there was no point, since the report accuses that police force of connivance, of stifling complaints and failing to investigate others. It describes the decision by the Gardai to permit an abuser to leave the country as shocking. Crucially, it points out that, but for information uncovered in diocesan files, it would not have been aware of the Garda role in covering up the crimes of child sex abuse. In other words, our national police force failed to cooperate with the investigation of a monumental crime. This failure is not something that happened in the distant past. Within the last decade, senior gardai were conniving to frustrate an official investigation into the activities of sex-abusing clerics and it’s highly likely that many of these people are still in office.
Coming in a week when we learn that a member of our parliament wrote to a bishop before voting on a government bill, this is highly disturbing. To what extent does this official deference still survive?
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