DUBLIN’S CATHOLIC archdiocese has paid €15.2 million in compensation and legal costs arising from clerical child sexual abuse, according to a report published last week.
This included €10.3 million in settlements and €4.9 million in legal costs.
To date 199 civil actions have been taken in Dublin arising from clerical child abuse, with 135 concluded and 64 ongoing.
The archdiocese has so far received 97 allegations/reports of suspicions of abuse against the worst priest serial child abuser in Dublin. He is no longer a priest and is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence.
The next-worst priest abuser has been the subject of 46 such allegations/reported suspicions, followed by two priest who are subject to 39 allegations/reported suspicions each.
In all, the archdiocese published figures for the 10 worst serial child abusers among its priests. The two least-worst such priests face 12 allegations/suspicions each.
They were disclosed as part of the archdiocese’s Child Safeguarding and Protection Service (CSPS) annual update of information related to abuse.
Since last year there have been allegations of child sexual abuse against a further four priests of the archdiocese not previously the subject of complaints. And a report of suspected child sexual abuse against a fifth priest not previously the subject of complaints was made.
The total number of priests of the archdiocese against whom allegations of child sexual abuse have been recorded has reached 98, 10 of whom have been convicted in the courts.
The figures relate to a period of more than 70 years during which approximately 1,350 priests served in Dublin.
In 2011 almost 1,000 people in Dublin parishes took part in child protection training and information sessions, while more than 26,300 people, including bishops, priests, parish workers etc have been vetted by gardaí.
A CSPS analysis of the 98 priests against whom allegations have been made found that 2 per cent were alleged to have last abused in the 1940s, 4 per cent in the 1950s, 23 per cent in the 1960s, 27 per cent in the 1970s, 34 per cent in the 1980s, 9 per cent in the 1990s, and 1 per cent in the 2000s.
Among those who attended the launch of these new figures in Dublin were Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, CSPS director Andrew Fagan and child protection officer Sinéad McDonnell.
Mr Fagan noted the figures showed “a sharp decline in the level of incidents of abuse recorded since the 1980s”.
But, he warned that “while the majority of allegations of abuse reported to us now relate to sexual abuse which may have occurred many years ago, it is still crucial to be vigilant and to ensure standards are maintained”.
Child protection operated “to a high standard” in Dublin and “parishes are now safer places for children”.
Archbishop Martin said there was “now no priest in ministry in Dublin about whom, if expressions of concern have been received, the gardaí and the HSE are not fully informed”.
He took consolation from figures indicating a sharp drop in allegations made against Dublin priests this century which, he suggested, was a result of more effective child safeguarding practices. This was particularly so as studies indicated that the level of paedophilia in society remained a constant, he said.
The decline in such allegations could also be attributed to improved screening processes in seminaries, he said, while “in the seminary itself there is further screening”.
But he had no explanation for the high incidence of allegations in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Separately, he said eight men are to be ordained deacons next month.
This was “not about substituting for priests”, he said.