BY Ian Dunn | December 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

17-DIARMUID-MARTIN

Dublin Archbishop apologises over abuse crisis and cover up

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has apologised personally to the people of Ballyfermot in Dublin following the abuse of children there by former priest Tony Walsh, ‘and about the way this abuse was hushed up by people with responsibility in the parish and in the diocese.’

Speaking during Mass at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot yesterday, he said: ‘”I came here this morning to renew my apologies to the people of this parish for the facts that this week have emerged.”

He was referring to the jailing of Walsh for 16 years last Monday following his conviction of the sexual abuse of three boys from Ballyfermot during the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

“I come to bring my apology to a parish to which I owe much. I grew up here; it is a parish to which I belonged and to which I feel I still belong. It is a parish which grew up in hardship, but whose people worked hard and supported each other and above all gave themselves so that their children could do well in life,” the archbishop said.  “This has been the story of Ballyfermot for years, as it is today. How do I explain to a community marked by such honesty, good neighbourliness and hard work that the church failed many children of this parish?”

He could not ‘but recall that in the years in which I lived in this parish I was exactly at the age of many of the children who were abused by Tony Walsh and sadly by a number of other priests who worked in this parish over the years. I apologise unreservedly.’

The first step on the road to renewal was for the church to ‘honestly acknowledge with no ‘buts’… the gravity and the extent of what happened,’ he said.

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