The extensive abuse of children in west Donegal by Father Eugene Greene was dealt with in an explosive documentary aired last night by the BBC.
The programme, “The shame of the Catholic Church” outlined how decades of clerical abuse and cover up left the Catholic Church in Ireland at breaking point.
Investigative journalist, Darragh MacIntyre, made claims on the programme in relation to Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, which have stunned the public.
The programme claimed that Cardinal Brady had the names and addresses of children who were being abused or were at risk of being abused by Ireland’s most notorious paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth, but failed to ensure that they were protected.
The investigation centred on a secret church inquiry in 1975 when a 14-year-old boy, Brendan Boland, was questioned by the church after he had disclosed he had been abused by Fr Smyth. Three priests took part in the process, among them Cardinal Brady, then Fr John Brady – a canon lawyer, bishop’s secretary and school teacher.
Donegal man Paul Breslin, who was abused by Fr Eugene Greene, told the programme: “I thought God was supposed to care and that priests were supposed to care not hurt a person. I thought I’m doing something wrong here. You know, am I not doing a good enough job as an altar boy that he’s punishing me for this.”
He said he had no childhood, no fun, nothing other than pain: “Nothing just pain, pain, pain. Every single week just pain.”
Paul Breslin, a native of Bealtaine who has been living in London for many years, first went public with his harrowing story of clerical abuse after he was approached MacIntyre for a 2002 BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme.
Retired Garda Martin Ridge told the programme: “I don’t believe a week went by in West Donegal where you hadn’t a child or a number of children sexually abused . It’s horrendous.
“Anywhere you look around here which is so hard to fathom: by-roads, side roads, churches, schools – the abuse here was something unbelievable, unbelievable. And the fact that nobody in the public spoke out about this after the total carnage here.”