Bishop of Clonfert apologises for transferring sex abusersSeptember 6, 2012 - 7:00am
The Bishop of Clonfert has issued a personal apology for sexual abuse carried out by two priests in his diocese, admitting that it was “gross innocence” that led him to deal with the priests by transferring them to new parishes.
And Dr John Kirby told the Connacht Tribune that while he did not consider resigning at any point, he would be “gone in the morning” if he dealt with abuse allegations in the same manner today.
In fact, there were complaints about a total of seven priests who either worked, served or lived in the diocese.
He said he believed at the time that by separating the abuser priests from their victims, the problem would be solved – and that he thinks there may have been a “group” of victims who have not come forward.
He made the comments at the launch of new child safeguarding policies for the Clonfert diocese – which covers 24 parishes in east Galway and parts of Roscommon and Offaly, with a population of 36,000.
The ‘Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Clonfert Diocese’ was prepared by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCCI) and looked into a total of nine allegations made against priests in the Clonfert diocese to the HSE and Gardaí from January 1 1975 up to June 2011. A further two allegations made to the HSE were withdrawn.
The report found that there were significant shortcomings in the diocese, which had an impact on the safeguarding of children.
Dr Kirby admitted that “there may be other victims” of two priests – identified as Priest A and Priest B – and asked them to come forward.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.