'Archdiocese will co-operate with inquiry'

Thursday 26 November 2009 19.41
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Eamonn Walsh - Promises cooperation
Eamonn Walsh - Promises cooperation
Desmond Connell - Action against abuse inquiry
Desmond Connell - Action against abuse inquiry
Diarmuid Martin - 'Tell all' approach challenged
Diarmuid Martin - 'Tell all' approach challenged

Bishop of Dublin Dr Eamonn Walsh has said the Archdiocese will co-operate fully with the Commission of Inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse.

Dr Walsh was commenting after it emerged that lawyers for the former Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, had sought to stop the Archdiocese handing over certain legal documents to the commission.

Dr Eamon Walsh said 'wherever lawyers are involved, you will always be entering into a legal minefield'.

He said he was surprised at suggestions, and what he called spin, that there was a conflict between Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Connell over the matter. Adding that there is a very warm, friendly and cordial relationship between the two men.

Colm O'Gorman, the former director of One In Four, which works with sex abuse survivors, has called on Cardinal Connell to allow certain legal documents be handed over.

Mr O'Gorman said Cardinal Connell should waive his legal privilege in relation to the documents and put the rights of victims above his own.

This matter is about legal issues, not personalities according to the Catholic Bishop of Dublin.

He said his first thought when he heard the news last night was for the people who were abused by clergy in the past.

He said the truth must be established so that victims can sense that they were heard and believed.

He said the inquiry must bring victims another step along the road of getting as peaceful a life as possible.

Legal dispute

Some 5,000 documents are at the centre of the legal dispute between Cardinal Desmond Connell and a judicial inquiry into the handling of complaints that Catholic clergy abused children.

Yesterday, Cardinal Connell initiated High Court proceedings to try to prevent documents handed over by his successor, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, being examined by the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation.

Archbishop Martin has said he is willing to give up the exemption from legal inspection that the documents enjoy. But the Cardinal is asserting his claims that they are privileged or protected by solicitor-client confidentiality.

It is understood the documents relate to legal advice following claims of child sexual abuse, as well as insurance policies in relation to such claims.

Yesterday in the High Court Cardinal Connell's solicitor revealed that his anxious client had challenged Archbishop Martin's 'tell all' approach to the Commission of Inquiry into their diocese.

The court heard that, through their lawyers, the Cardinal had told the Archbishop of his displeasure when it was noticed that the commission had a document that Dr Connell considered exempt from inspection.

The document came to light last October while the Cardinal was giving evidence to Judge Yvonne Murphy's Commission.

Now it has emerged that Archbishop Martin has told Judge Murphy that he is willing to waive the privilege attaching to about 5,000, or one in 12, of the documents the commission ordered him to hand over.

A major plank in the Cardinal's case is that he is the person entitled to assert and maintain legal privilege over many of the documents because it was he who received the advice.