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Legacy of Cardinal Daly

Irish Times, Wed, Jan 13, 2010

Madam, – I am a victim of Cardinal Cahal Daly, and I have found his death and recent glorification in The Irish Times and elsewhere very traumatic and painful.

By summarily dismissing me as curate of Larne and from the Diocese of Down and Connor in the summer of 1986 Cahal Daly abused his authority over me.

As a result, I developed the stress-related and chronic medical condition Crohn’s disease and have suffered ecclesiastical exile with its attendant emotional and mental anguish for 23 years.

I was given two reasons for my dismissal.

One, I was guilty of being critical of my church and ecclesiastical superiors.

Second, I was guilty of expressing those criticisms to journalists and in the media.

In the summer of 1986, I learned of my removal from Larne and the name of my replacement not from Cahal Daly personally but from the morning news on RTÉ Radio 1 as I travelled in my car.

Each year since my “sacking”, I wrote to Cardinal Daly suggesting that he and I be reconciled before going to meet our maker. My letters were ignored.

At the time of my “sacking” Father Brendan Smyth was ministering in Down and Connor with the knowledge and consent of its then bishop, Cahal Daly.

Cahal Daly was also a senior member of the Irish Bishops Conference from 1967 to 1996, all during the time when the Irish bishops were dismissing the claims of victims, were not informing the Garda of priest abusers and were insuring their dioceses against possible claims by victims.

As he “lay in state” in my former parish, St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, a parishioner in her 80s telephoned me to let me know that she was thinking of me at what must be a painful time for me.

She finished her call with the words: “I wonder how many secrets he has taken with him to his grave”? – Yours, etc,

The Oratory,
Co Antrim.

Legacy of Cardinal Daly
The Irish Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Madam, – Pat Buckley (Letters, January 13th) inaccurately stated that, at the time of his “sacking”, Fr Brendan Smyth “was ministering in Down and Connor with the knowledge and consent of its then bishop, Cahal Daly”.

It should be noted that Fr Brendan Smyth, a native of Belfast, was not a diocesan priest and never held any appointment in the Diocese of Down and Connor at any time. –

Yours, etc,

Media Liaison Officer,
Down and Connor Diocese.

Legacy of Cardinal Daly
The Irish Times - Thursday, January 21, 2010

Madam, – Fr Edward McGee for Down and Connor diocese (Letters, January 19th) says Fr Brendan Smyth was not a diocesan priest of that diocese and never held an appointment therein. I never claimed those things.

What I did say was that Fr Smyth ministered in the diocese with the knowledge and consent of Cahal Daly – which he did. In either event, maybe Fr McGee would like to explain the niceties of the distinction between “appointment” and “ministry” to the children whom Brendan Smyth brutally sexually abused. – Yours, etc,

The Oratory,
Co Antrim.

A chara, – Have these priests learnt nothing from the Ryan report? Fr Edward McGee’s weasel excuses that Fr Brendan Smyth may not have been a diocesan priest, etc, etc, etc, are irrelevant.

Smyth was my chaplain in St Dominic’s High School in Belfast during my time there.

I was oblivious to the fact he was abusing friends, classmates and neighbours while at the same time telling us how to be good Catholics in the classroom.

The time for splitting legal and clerical hairs is long gone. Priests like Fr McGee will only drive us, in disgust, to the “count me out” website sooner rather than later. – Is mise,

Ascaill Bewley,
Co Átha Cliath.


Cardinal Daly Brokered Secret Deal with RUC To Arrest Smyth

Irish Independent, Thursday April 08 2010 by John Cooney

FRESH details of a secret deal that led to the arrest and imprisonment of notorious paedophile monk Brendan Smyth have emerged.

The deal was brokered in 1994 by Cardinal Cahal Daly, who was exasperated by the actions of an abbot who refused to deal effectively with complaints against serial child sex abuser Smyth.

Cardinal Daly agreed with the North's chief constable, Hugh Annesley, to end the church's previous practice of informing only the Vatican and to encourage bishops to report complaints to the police.

This Annesley-Daly deal triggered a fundamental change in the Irish hierarchy's approach to clerical paedophilia, according to a retired RUC detective who interrogated Smyth.

The Catholic Church then began to put aside substantial amounts of money in anticipation of compensation claims.

This was just months before the current Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, was ordained coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh in February 1995.

Cardinal Brady has been under pressure in recent weeks after admitting he was at meetings in 1975 where two abused children signed vows of silence over complaints against Smyth.

The previously unknown timing of the 1994 deal points to the fact that Fr Smyth was still being discussed at the top level of the church hierarchy at that time.

And as assistant archbishop with right of succession to the primacy, Cardinal Brady would have been appraised by Cardinal Daly of the horrendous list of victims abused by Smyth since 1945.

Retired RUC Detective Superintendent Kevin Sheehy disclosed details of the deal in his memoir and confirmed to the Irish Independent that it would have been struck in autumn 1994.

Mr Sheehy said that it came about because Cardinal Daly was increasingly frustrated by failures of the Norbertine Abbot of Kilnacrott Abbey in Co Cavan to hand Smyth over to the RUC.

Cardinal Daly, who died last December, had contacted Abbot Kevin Smith in February 1990, when the allegations against Smyth first came to his attention. The cardinal did so again in March 1990, February 1991, and August 1992.

Each time, Abbot Smith undertook to deal effectively with the matter.

Cardinal Daly was following canon law in respecting the day-to-day autonomy of a religious order -- which lies outside the control of a diocesan bishop.

But an exasperated Cardinal Daly finally overruled the abbot, ordering Smyth to present himself to the civil authorities in the North.

Mr Sheehy said: "I strongly suspect that the cardinal contacted Rome to explain that, in the delicate context of Ulster, it was necessary for him to cooperate fully with the civil authorities."

He added: "Cardinal Daly and his solicitors met with the chief constable of the day, Sir Hugh Annesley, to agree on a process whereby suspect clerical paedophiles would be made available to the police for interview."

Mr Sheehy also claimed the cardinal was advised to set aside a multi-million pound sum for forthcoming claims against offending clerics.

Mr Sheehy's journal shows that the deal was struck in September-October 1994, only a few months before Fr Brady, the former rector of the Irish Pontifical College in Rome, was named as Cardinal Daly's successor by Pope John Paul II.