Home > Human Rights in the News, New Judgments and Cases to Watch > High Court Rules Dublin Archdiocese Abuse Report be Partially Published

High Court Rules Dublin Archdiocese Abuse Report be Partially Published

fourcourtsThe flow of information and inquiry on institutional abuses in the church continues to change from a trickle to a torrent after Mr Justice Paul Gilligan in the High Court ruled that most of the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation into the handling by the Catholic Church authorities of child sex abuse allegations against priests in the diocese may be published. The report was compiled followed an investigation by the Commission into how clerical child sex abuse allegations involving a sample of 46 priests were handled by Catholic Church authorities in Dublin between January 1st, 1975, and April 30th, 2004. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern referred the report on the Attorney General’s advice it to the High Court to seek direction because some of the individuals concerned are facing or may face criminal proceedings (Under section 38 of the Commission of Investigation Act 2004, the Minister for Justice must seek directions from the High Court if it is felt publication of a commission report might prejudice criminal proceedings, pending or in progress). Mr Justice Gilligan ruled that chapter 19 of the report or any references to the subject matter of Chapter 19 can not be published until the court directs. Significantly, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said his “personal preference would be for the report to come out quickly and in its integrity because, reading it in its integrity, the question emerges better”. The difference between Archbishop Martin and his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell on these issues could not be greater. While prevarication, obfuscation and denial were the default positions of the latter, Martin has followed in a trend visible in other similar powerful state or quasi-state centres of abuse like armies and secret police services in liberalising societies in realising the justice and psychosocial healing that can flow from such inquiries. It is regrettable that other dioceses have not been as pro-active on the issue. The victim’s group One in Four have urged full publication of the report in due course.

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