Cloyne Report in full
Government News Conference
Church News Conference

The Cloyne Report scrutinises how both Catholic Church and State authorities handled allegations of abuse against 19 clerics in the Co Cork diocese.

Judge Yvonne Murphy and two fellow commissioners were not tasked with establishing whether child sexual abuse took place or whether there was a basis for suspicions or concerns.

The inquiry was ordered by the Government in 2009, following revelations that child protection practices in the diocese were inadequate and in some respects dangerous.

The report refers to the priests using pseudonyms, among them Fr Baird, Fr Caden, Fr Calder, Fr Corin, Fr Drust, Fr Flan, Fr Kael, Fr Moray, Fr Ronat and Fr Tarin.

Main findings from the Commission of Investigation

  • Bishop John Magee misled a previous inquiry and gave a false account of how he was handling allegations
  • Between 1996 and 2005, the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which 'very clearly should have been reported'
  • 'The most serious lapse was the failure to report the two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time the complaint was made'
  • While the dioceses ostensibly supported child protection procedures, it was 'never genuinely committed to their implementation'
  • The 'diocese put far too much emphasis on the concerns of the alleged offenders'
  • The report says Bishop John Magee must take primary responsibility for the failure to implement the procedures
  • The Catholic Diocese of Cloyne was ignoring the church's own guidelines on child protection as recently at 2009
  • In most cases gardaí were not informed of child abuse allegations against clergy
  • Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan 'stymied' the implementation in Cloyne of child protection policy, and told the Commission he was 'very disappointed' with it
  • Monsignor O'Callaghan first withheld the identity of a perpetrator from authorities and then attempted to have a particular garda officer investigate it
  • In what the report said was 'clearly and unequivocally' a child sexual abuse case, the Commission says it cannot understand how the Monsignor concluded no sexual abuse had occurred
  • The Vatican and its representatives are also criticised - the Commission says the Papal Nuncio replied to its request for information by saying he was 'unable to assist you in this matter'
  • The garda response comes under the Commission's microscope - on one case the Commission says it does not accept there was a proper investigation of the complaints, despite the fact the gardaí insist an investigation took place
  • The Commission also reveals how an allegation was made against Bishop Magee himself in 2008 by an 18-year-old who claimed he was embraced and kissed on the forehead by the bishop

    While the behaviour was deemed inappropriate, it was found not to be abusive by church and State authorities. The report concludes the case was dealt with appropriately

Details and reaction:

2230 A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Tanaiste was seeking a meeting as soon as possible with the Papal Nuncio.

1920 Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter that the Government will decide in the early autumn if inquiries will have to be held into child sex abuse in other dioceses.

Speaking on RTE's Six-One News, Mr Shatter said audit results are expected in September from the church's own abuse watchdog, Ian Elliot and from the HSE and an assessment of the need for further judicial investigations will be made then.

Mr Shatter said it was scandalous that the Church in Cloyne was not implementing its own guidelines in the years following publication of the new framework document in 1996.

1755 The priest who walked from the Cloyne diocese to Dublin to call for Bishop Magee's resignation has said the Papal Nuncio has questions to answer about the Vatican's 'appalling' attitude to the Irish church's mandatory reporting policy.

Fr Michael Mernagh told RTÉ News that he was surprised and very disappointed with the revelation that the Vatican described the guidelines on reporting child abuse allegations to the civil authorities as 'merely a study document'.

The Augustinian friar said that if the Vatican regarded the guidelines as study notes and as unimportant, one would really have to ask what power the Irish church authorities had in implementing their 1996 guidelines.

1710 All-Ireland Primate Cardinal Sean Brady has said the publication of the report was a very bad and dark day for the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Speaking at the Drumcree Pastoral Centre in Portadown, the Cardinal said he had not considered resigning as a result of the report and said he would welcome the Murphy Commission into the Armagh diocese if it chose to come.

1705 President Mary McAleese has said that lessons still have to be learned in the welfare and protection of area.

She added: 'The chastening truth revealed in the Cloyne Report about such recent facts and events must compel the strictest future adherence by church, state and citizens to all laws and best practice protocols around child protection, and further steps in this regard are being taken by the Government.

'Every effort must be expended so that we can firmly consign this shameful period to history and be sure that our children do in fact come first.'

1655 Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue said that what was done to the children was 'shocking, awful and unforgivable'.

'The effort to cover up the abuse was appalling. The pain and full horror of this abuse of trust will leave people across our country deeply upset and angry,' he added.

1650 Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín O Caoláin described the report as a 'damning indictment' of the Catholic Church and of the Vatican, who had covered up abuse.

Mr O Caoláin said the Papal Nuncio should be called in to be told of the Government's anger on the issue.

He pledged Sinn Féin support for the Government's planned legislation on mandatory reporting.

1620 Fianna Fáil's Billy Kelleher described the report as 'horrendous', and said the Church authorities must now co-operate fully with investigations into abuse.

Mr Kelleher also called for the establishment of a National Forum, which could hear the views of the victims of abuse.

1614 Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is to publish the new 'Children First' national guidance document on Friday.

She said a raft of measures will be in place, including imprisonment and fines, for failure to comply with the child protection code.

The Minister said: 'Never again will someone be allowed to place the protection of their institution above the protection of children'.

1606 The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford said he was appalled by the depth of damage and suffering and that it was a very sad day for all the priests and people in the diocese.

Dr Clifford said that a number of structures were now in place so that people will have full and adequate information on the safeguarding of children.

1605 The Garda Commissioner has apologised to the victims in the Cloyne report whose cases were not properly investigated by the gardaí.

Martin Callinan said it was a matter of regret that people did not receive the attention and action to which they were entitled.

1603: Fr Baird: An anonymous complaint was made to Bishop Magee in 1997 about Fr Baird's behaviour. He was a teacher in a boarding school and regularly invited students to his room, where they would drink until the early hours of the morning.

There was one complaint of sexual abuse made against Fr Baird in 2002.

The priest denied the allegation but while the matter was being investigated he was suspended from his ministry and removed from the school. Fr Baird died in 2004, aged 44, after a serious illness.

1557 Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan said: 'I acknowledge and I am sorry that, in responding to the allegations of abuse, I, in some instances, became emotionally and pastorally drawn to the plight of the accused priest, to the detriment of the pastoral response I intended to make to complainants.'

Msgr O'Callaghan said it was never his intention to add to the immense burden being carried by those who had already been abused.

1555 The Commission says Monsignor O'Callaghan 'stymied' the implementation in Cloyne of the Irish hierarchy's policy despite having the immediate responsibility for reporting to the civil authorities.

He told the Commission he was 'very disappointed' with the policy and that 'the bishops had rolled over under pressure from the media and they expected Rome to endorse the new policy'.

The Commission says the Vatican described the 1996 guidelines as 'merely a study document', a stance which 'comforted and supported' dissenters from the Irish bishops' collective

1553 Bishop Magee: The inquiry also dealt with a personal complaint against the former Bishop himself.

The report said concerns had been raised about Bishop John Magee's own interaction with a 17-year-old youth named as Joseph. As a result of the complaint, the Bishop had to receive 'boundary counselling'.

The concerns relate to a meeting the young man had alone with the Bishop after he had decided not to take up a priestly vocation.

Joseph reported that the bishop embraced him tightly for around a minute and at the same time asked if it 'felt good.' Joseph also said the bishop kissed him on the forehead, and that Magee told him he loved him and that he dreamt about him.

1547 Bishop John Magee has said he was particularly saddened when reading accounts of the complainants describing their abuse, 'knowing that I contributed to their distress.'

He said: 'The people, who were so terribly abused by priests, found the courage to come forward to talk to me, or to my delegate, Msgr O' Callaghan who was representing me, and in many cases, we failed them.

'I am sorry that this happened and I unreservedly apologise to all those who suffered additional hurt because of the flawed implementation of the Church procedures, for which I take full responsibility.'

1544 Cardinal Seán Brady said the publication of the report represented 'another dark day in the history of the response of Church leaders to the cry of children abused by Church personnel'.

1541 Between 1996 - when the Irish bishops introduced guidelines for mandatory reporting - and 2005, the Diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints against priests which 'very clearly should have been reported'.

The Commission says 'the most serious lapse was the failure to report two cases in which the alleged victims were minors at the time of the complaint'.

Between 1996 and 2008 the diocese failed to report any complaints to the health authorities.

1538 One In Four has responded to the report, saying it covers 'the same shocking, distressing ground as its predecessors, the Ferns, Ryan and Murphy Reports.'

'It documents a familiar saga of priests sexually abusing children with impunity, protected by senior Churchmen conspiring to cover up the abuse with an astounding indifference to the safety of children.'

1529 Fr Drust: In this case the diocese did immediately, in 2002, report the complaint to gardaí, even though Monsignor O'Callaghan made it clear that he did not think this was appropriate.

The abuse is alleged to have occurred between 1967 and 1971.

The woman first made a complaint in 1990 and again in 2002.

Fr Drust was formally removed from ministry but the perception was that he was a retired priest rather than one removed from ministry, and he continued music classes with children.

The DPP decided to prosecute in the case but was prohibited because of exceptional circumstances on the application of Fr Drust. However, the dioceses continued to state that the DPP decided not to prosecute.

1524 Fr Flan: This chapter deals with one of only two cases in the report where the complaint was made concerning a person who was still a child.

Fr Flan admitted to Monsignor O'Callaghan that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old girl, after which his activities were restricted but no investigation was carried nor was Bishop Magee informed.

The priest later eloped with a married woman, and Monsignor O'Callaghan told that Commission that in hindsight he 'should have gone straight to the gardaí.'

1523 Fr Moray: The Commission found that procedure was not followed when a complaint was made about deceased priest Fr Moray, in 1997 and again in 2002.

Monsignor O'Callaghan told the Commission reporting complaints about dead priests did not exist until 2003 - the commission did not accept that.

The complaint about Fr Moray was made by 'Skyla', who alleged that she and her brother (who later took his own life) had been sexually abused by the priest.

The diocese provided help with counselling costs but when a civil action began claimed it had 'no legal liability.'

1521 The Government is to refer the Commission's report to the Garda Ombudsman after it expressed concern about the approach adapted by gardaí in three cases.

The Garda Commissioner has appointed an Assistant Commissioner to examine whether further action can be taken against the abusers in the report.

1519 The report does not include a single instance of contemporaneous reporting of abuse by the abused person.

All were adults at the time of disclosure. In some cases, the abuse was disclosed only when it became public knowledge that others had been abused.

1513 Fr Calder: Gardaí were hampered in their investigations by the failure of anyone to make a formal complaint until 1998, and even then the complaints related to adults not children.

The fact that the evidence of Garda John who was the garda most closely connected to these events, differed considerably from his written reports made many years earlier about the age of particular complainants is a cause of concern to the Commission.

The Commission is also concerned about the failure of Supt Murray to keep records of his conversations with Monsignor O'Callaghan.

1507 Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has published the Scheme of a Bill to make it a criminal offence for anyone not to pass information on to Gardai about possible sexual abuse of a child.

The Government has approved the drafting of the Bill as a matter of priority. Drafting is already at an advanced stage.

1504 The Diocese of Cloyne has paid for counselling for six complainants. It made its first payment in 2007 and up to 2010 had made compensation payments to a total of four people, with a number of other claims being processed.

Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, who was parish priest in Mallow, dealt with complaints of child sexual abuse during the period of the Commission's remit.

The Monsignor made payments for counselling from the parish account and during the period 1996 to 2007 a total of €30,000 was paid from parish funds, but was later reimbursed from the Diocesan 'child protection fund'.

A local charitable trust made the payments to abuse survivors because 'direct payment to complainants might be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the Diocese'.

The Diocese has contributed €12,000 to the counselling service Faoiseamh which was setup up by CORI.

1503 Although Bishop John Magee was aware of concerns about a priest since 1997 and had a report about his unsuitability for ministry, it was not until 2009 that he reported the matter to Rome.

The Report also criticises two gardaí for their handling of complaints about this priest - named as Father Calder.

It finds it regrettable that a Garda Superintendent did not take a note of a meeting with a senior churchman.

1502 There are 46 parishes in the Diocese of Cloyne, in 1996 there were 163 priests in the diocese, 12 of them came within the remit of the report.

1501 The Commission says in its report that the Papal Nuncio replied to a request for information relevant to its investigation by saying he was 'unable to assist you in his matter'.

The Nunciature did not he said determine the handling of cases of sexual abuse in Ireland and would not be in a position to assist.

The Commission says that the Department of Health claimed privilege over a number of documents relevant to its investigation. The report notes that the Diocese of Cloyne, in particular Archbishop Clifford and Bishop Magee fully co-operated as did the Gardai and HSE.

But it did note that in one case Gardai were unable to assist because 'these complaints were investigated but files cannot be found'.

1500 The Commission held 55 formal hearings during its inquiry both at its offices and at other locations around the country.

The Commission says its work in the Cloyne Diocese cost €1.9m, which does not include third party costs.