Catholic abuse commission to be stood down

Friday 20 December 2002 18.58

The Catholic Church's Commission on Child Sexual Abuse in Ireland is to be stood down.

In a statement Judge Gillian Hussey, who was appointed to chair the Commission, said it had decided not to proceed in light of the Minister for Justice's stated intention to introduce legislation for a new procedure to enable a detailed State-sponsored investigation of how the Church authorities dealt with allegations against clergy and religious.

The Commission was launched in June after more than three months of consultations among the bishops and other church leaders in the wake of the resignation of Bishop Brendan Comiskey.

He had stepped down after a BBC documentary had reported from County Wexford on the deep unhappiness of parents and victims of the late Father Sean Fortune with Dr Comiskey's response to complaints about the priest.

The Commission's brief from the bishops and religious orders was to 'establish the truth about the extent of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland, and the response of Church authorities to complaints of such abuse'. It was to produce an interim report by next February.