Retired garda criticises Vatican report on child sex abuse

A retired garda who has called for an independent inquiry into four decades of child sexual abuse in the Raphoe Dicoese has blasted the Vatican’s long-awaited report into the handling of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church - deeming it “a bluster of words.”

A retired garda who has called for an independent inquiry into four decades of child sexual abuse in the Raphoe Dicoese has blasted the Vatican’s long-awaited report into the handling of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church - deeming it “a bluster of words.”

The report acknowledges failures on the part of those who - as it puts it - should have exercised vigilance. It also said lessons have been learned and found that the current guidelines on child protection were being followed. The findings are based on an apostolic visitation to the four archdioceses, religious congregations and seminaries.

Martin Ridge said that the money that was spent on the apostolic visitation would have been better spent on trauma units and support units to help the victims of abuse in areas where it is deemed necessary. He did state that he welcomed the fact that the church acknowledged their shame in relation to the events that had taken place in the past, adding that he felt that it was a shame that this acknowledgement had to be forced upon them by a State Inquiry.

“The truth only came to the fore through survivors who not only had to break through the barriers of pain, but also had to find a voice. Many of these victims are still in the shadows. Children should never have had to face this horror. Where was the pastoral care years ago when this was happening. Only for the survivors no-one would know about this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children, Charlie McConalogue said that the Vatican Report offered no perspective on the child abuse crisis or on strengthening child protection.

Deputy McConalogue said: “I welcome the fact that the report echoes the shame, sorrow and pain previously expressed by Church leaders in respect of the child abuse crisis in Ireland. The Vatican has again recognised the “sinful and criminal acts” that were the root of the crisis and the fact that “those who should have exercised vigilance failed to do so effectively.”

Fianna Fáil has called for full and independent inquiry into the handling of child abuse allegations in all Dioceses around the country. “We are still waiting for the results of a HSE national child protection audit, six years after it was commissioned,” he said.

Deputy McColalogue raised a special Dáil debate on the issue at which he was due to speak at yesterday afternoon.