Call for Vatican support for abuse victims

Friday 21 January 2011 18.10
Vatican - Abuse survivors meet Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Vatican - Abuse survivors meet Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Representatives of survivors of abuse in Catholic Church institutions in the North have called on the Vatican to immediately ensure that the most vulnerable victims receive counselling and support.

They also asked for redress from the church.

The appeal was issued after a meeting in Newry between a delegation of four survivors and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is leading a fact-finding team appointed by Pope Benedict to report on the abuse crisis in the archdiocese of Armagh.

Victims' spokesperson Jon McCourt told the Cardinal that a quarter of the 48 boys he knew in the Termonbacca Home in Derry had taken their own lives because they could not live with the legacy of their abuse.

The home was run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

Mr McCourt says lay staff sexually abused him until he left the institution at the age of 13 and that nuns abused him physically and emotionally.

Another member of the delegation, Margaret McGuckian, told the Cardinal and his two assistants that she was physically and emotionally abused in a home in Belfast run by the same religious sisters.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor told the delegation that he would ask the Irish hierarchy to appoint a representative to liaise with the group next week.

The meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, took place in the Dromantine Retreat House outside Newry, Co Down.

Ms McGuckian said the church representatives seemed to have taken their concerns on board.

She said the Cardinal told them he would ask the Irish hierarchy to appoint a representative to liaise with the group. He also explained that his Apostolic Visitation team would report its findings to Pope Benedict and that he would formulate a response in due course.