Updated: 07/09/12 : 07:51:20Printable Version
Bishop of Clonfert John Kirby made out-of-court settlements in the 1990s with two victims of an abuser priest in his diocese.
He said yesterday he believed the settlements were made in 1994 and 1998, and, “from memory”, these, including legal fees, totalled “circa IR£130,000”.
According to The Irish Times
both settlements arose from child abuse by the priest identified as “priest A” in a National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) review published on Wednesday.
The review said “five separate complaints were made against priest ‘A’ between 1990 and 1997”. Priest A was convicted in the courts and served a jail sentence. The review established that when he became aware of child abuse allegations against A and another priest, “Bishop Kirby moved the priests against whom allegations were made to different parishes”.
On Wednesday Bishop Kirby said of this, “I literally thought, and you can put it down as gross innocence and naivety, that if I separated the priest and the youngster, that it was a friendship that crossed the boundary line. I literally thought if I separated them I would have solved the problem.”
The review said that, where A was concerned, “Bishop Kirby did immediately confront the priest when he received the first allegation, [the priest acknowledged the allegation], and the bishop made a speedy report to the Western Health Board . . . It is not recorded whether Bishop Kirby reported the allegation to An Garda Síochána”.
Priest A has since been laicised. Where priest B was concerned, the review found that “the first complaint was not properly managed . . .” but that later complaints against him were dealt with “more effectively”.
Last night Minister for Justice Alan Shatter described as “indefensible child protection failures” identified in the seven NBSC reviews – of four dioceses and three religious congregations – published on Wednesday. He said these were now being investigated by the Garda Sexual Crime Management Unit.
He also acknowledged “the courageous and important work” of NBSC chief executive Ian Elliott.