Donegal priests in favour of inquiry

Most priests questioned in a Donegal on Sunday survey said that they would be in favour of a State inquiry in the aftermath of the publication of the Raphoe Diocesan Audit.

Most priests questioned in a Donegal on Sunday survey said that they would be in favour of a State inquiry in the aftermath of the publication of the Raphoe Diocesan Audit.

Earlier this week many of the victims said that the audit fell short of what they expected it to be and called on the Government to carry out further enquiries.

This weekend, Donegal on Sunday called a large number of priests listed in the 2011 directory of the Raphoe Diocese. It was apparent from their replies that they would be more in favour of doing anything they could to help victims.

Of the 21 priests who answered the call from Donegal on Sunday this weekend, 12 said that they would be in favour of a State inquiry. Only one priest said that he would not be in favour.

“I don’t see the point in it,” he said.

Two priests were of the opinion that a State inquiry might not be the answer and that perhaps a co-ordinated State led inquiry involving other agencies or a similar approach may provide the answers that people are looking for. Other priests felt that it was now a matter for the State and that it was completely out of their hands.

Another priest said: “Anyone with information should come forward to the statutory authorities. If further information emerges there is a need for a statutory investigation.”

Many of the priests said that they would take direction from Bishop Philip Boyce in relation to the matter.

“Those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear,” one said.

Another priest said that if the audit had stated that things were not improving, then he would be in favour of an inquiry. However, as the audit had proven that the situation was improving, he was not sure that a State inquiry was merited.

“There is a huge seriousness in eradicating this awful scourge,” he said.

Another priest said that he could not answer the question because he needed more time to consider everything, while another priest who said that the audit was “very good” also said it fell short of dealing with victims.

Many priests contacted said that they would do anything within their power to help victims, many adding that this was a sentiment which reflected that of their bishop.

Another priest said that he would be 100 percent behind a Church inquiry.

“If the Church is built on the gospel, why should the State have to intervene, when we should be doing it? This goes to the very heart of what the gospel says,” he said.

Another priest said that while the audit had done everything that had been expected of it, there was a lot of confusion among priests.

“It left a lot of confusion,” he said.

He added that clarification may be needed to ensure that priests are not viewed with suspicion.