Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bishop dismisses abuse cover-up claims

THE Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, has dismissed claims that his diocese has child protection concerns despite claims by a Catholic lay organisation that "a widespread culture of covering up abuse" still existed in some areas.

Prior to a extraordinary general meeting of 18 Catholic bishops in Maynooth yesterday, Voice of the Faithful Ireland spokesman Sean O Conaill said, in reference to the cover-up of clerical child sex abuse, that his group had "particular concerns about some dioceses still, particularly the Diocese of Raphoe".

The concerns mainly revolve around the activities of convicted paedophile priest, Fr Eugene Greene.

Greene’s reign of terror in a number of Donegal parishes dated back to 1965.

He was eventually jailed for 12 years in 2000, after pleading guilty to 41 sample charges of sexual assault against children in various locations throughout Donegal.

Bishop Boyce was appointed in 1995 and claims not to have been aware of any sexual abuse complaints against Greene until 1998.

Complaints were made about Greene to the diocese but it is claimed that no records of the allegations were kept.

Entering yesterday’s meeting, Bishop Boyce said: "If an investigation takes place, the truth will come out."

He later released a statement claiming that "the proposition" that concerns existed about the Diocese of Raphoe were "unfounded".

The statement read: "The diocese works constantly in partnership with the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland to safeguard children."

Also in attendance at yesterday extraordinary general meeting to discuss the Murphy report into child sex abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese was Bishop Drennan of Galway.

Bishop Drennan has continued to refuse to bow to demands that he follow four of his colleagues and offer his resignation after being named in the Murphy report.

A statement released by the Catholic communications office following the five-hour meeting said the bishops welcomed the Pope Benedict’s invitation to meet him in Rome on February 15 and 16 to discuss "the very serious situation that prevails in the Irish Church".

The bishops also discussed preparations for a Papal Pastoral Letter to the faithful in Ireland, and a " follow-up listening and consultation process which will take place with the lay faithful, clergy and religious" following its release.

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