The Report published following the investigation of the handling of cases of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in the Archdiocese of Dublin has shocked and disturbed me.
It lays bare the immense betrayal of sacred trust and duty on the part of priests. It is horrific to think that an innocent child could be sexually abused by any adult, let alone by a priest.
No one can fully understand the lasting effects of child sexual abuse except the victims themselves. If it should have happened to someone closely related to us, it would provoke us to deep anger.
“Each child should be cherished and affirmed as a gift from God” Standards and Guidance Document, p. 14).
To violate the open trust and the bodily integrity of a child is a deplorable crime.
One of the missionary priests who served in the Archdiocese of Dublin and who is mentioned in the Report, Fr. Maguire, also served in our Diocese for a year between 1974 and 1975. I am deeply upset at the fact that while on loan to us he perpetrated heinous crimes of this nature in our area.
This fact was already reported on local Radio and in newspapers at the time of his conviction.
To the victims and their families who suffered so much I apologise again and express my heartfelt sympathy and regret.
The Diocese of Raphoe has taken the duty of safeguarding children very seriously.
I personally have worked assiduously at the task since I was appointed Bishop fourteen years ago. All allegations are reported to the Gardaí and the HSE with whom we closely co-operate.
Children are our most treasured possession. On them depends the future of society and the Church of tomorrow.
Our Diocesan Child Protection Committee has members trained in safeguarding children.
Two trainers also identify and train parish representatives who promote the development and implementation of best practice at parish level. It is aimed at making our parishes safe environments where children are safe and can grow up into healthy citizens of society.
For any reports of child sexual abuse or concerns of child protection, please contact:
Against priests: V. Rev. Kieran McAteer, PP, Donegal Road, Ballybofey. Tel.074-9131135; Against Church lay personnel: Georgina O’Brien, Corgarry, Ballybofey. Tel. 074-9132965.
Faoiseamh Confidential Helpline: Freefone: 1800-33-1234 (or from Northern Ireland and the UK: 0800-973272).
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