A petition organised by a group in Donegal calling for the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady has been handed into the Cardinal’s office in Armagh.
Fios, a community based educational training organisation near Bunbeg organised ‘The People’s Petition’.
Speaking on their behalf, Sean Hillen said they were “more than happy” with the results.
“We set out at the end of May to collected 500 signatures in time for the Eucharistic Congress. We did this, with more than half of the signatures, around 300, collected in Donegal areas including Falcarragh, Gortahork, Dunfanaghy, Letterkenny, Milford and Ballybofey. The rest of the signatories were from other parts of Ireland and on-line supporters from as far away as Australia.
“An area like rural Donegal is by its nature very conservative, so to have this many signatures here shows just how deeply the concerns run.
“Most of those who signed are people who go to Mass every week and hand over their money to the Church. “They told us that things have to change.
“Some people said the Parochial House in Gortahork should be demolished. It’s where so many young people were abused by Eugene Green. Many of his victims still live here and have to pass it every day, making it so difficult for them to heal.”
Tony McFadden, who signed the petition, said: “I spoke several times to Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, about this. At first, he told me he had no power to do this and that such a decision had to be made by the local parish priest, that he could not interfere in such matters.”
Martin Gallagher, one of the children sexually abused by Green in Gortahork and a signatory of the petition, said Brady is not morally fit to lead the Eucharistic Congress, “He should do the right thing and resign. If he doesn’t then he is ignoring the opinions of ordinary Christian people.”
Sean Hillen says that, whether Cardinal Brady resigns or not, there is a growing movement that cannot be ignored.
Upon receiving the petition on the grounds of Armagh Cathedral earlier this week where Cardinal Brady has his offices, the church representative there declined to make any comment, saying the Cardinal was ‘extremely busy’ with the Eucharistic Congress, as was his diocesan secretary Rev Michael Toner.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, one of the prime organisers of the Congress, told RTE he was ready to meet with those behind the People’s Petition. A formal invitation has gone out to the Archbishop to travel to Donegal and see some of the places where sexual abuse of children has taken place and talk to some of the abused.