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Emer O'Kelly and Moral Corruption

(1) Regarding the collapse of the false rape conviction of Nora Wall (formerly Sister Dominic of the Sisters of Mercy), Emer O'Kelly has this to say in November 1999:

"When the former Mercy nun Nora Wall was vindicated, and an announcement was made that she was not to be retried for rape, there was an outcry from some members of the public about the way she had been vilified before her [June 1999] conviction was set aside. The horrible reality of our society is that so many appalling crimes of abuse of children by Catholic religious have been proved in the courts that many people are inclined to believe that no cleric, man or woman, accused of such crimes can possibly be innocent. And that is not the fault of public opinion. It is in large measure the fault of the religious authorities who seem more concerned with limiting the damage to their own reputations and standing than in acknowledging their collective guilt and active negligence."

Ms. O'Kelly wrote this just 5 months after the convictions of Nora Wall and of Pablo McCabe a homeless, mentally ill man who was accused simply to make the rape allegation appear more credible. (Prior to the Nora Wall case, no woman had ever been convicted of rape.) Emer O'Kelly has nothing to say about Pablo McCabe.

Regarding the false allegation that the Sisters of Mercy had been responsible for the death of a baby in Goldenbridge, she writes:

And we all remember that a couple who tried to find out what had happened to their baby, dead in the hell-hole that was Goldenbridge, were told, ``It's only a baby''.

Blood Libel and false allegations of rape; there're all OK as long they are directed against the Catholic Church!!

(2) On 31 August 2003 a letter published in the Sunday Independent had this to say about O'Kelly's treatment of the Vatican document Crimine Solicitatione.

In last Sunday's paper Emer O'Kelly makes much of the Vatican document Crimine Solicitatione, which, she says, "threatens excommunication on any priest or lay member of the church who fails to pursue any case of criminal solicitation or molestation in the most secretive way".

Why did she add "or molestation"? Simply to add weight to her entirely false allegation that this document has anything to do with the issue of clerical child abuse. As every journalist now knows, Crimine Solicitatione applied only to cases in which a priest had used the confessional to solicit sex. As this was never the method of seduction employed by child-abusing priests, the document has virtually no relevance to that issue.

Why did Miss O'Kelly not check this before presenting your readers with a wholly distorted account of this document? Again, her column tells us - to prove her thesis - that "a lie by a cleric is the truth under canon law".

It is now Miss O'Kelly's own attachment to the truth that is in question. It wouldn't be the first time: Miss O'Kelly's relationship with the truth is like that of a car to a Donegal road - she hits it only in spots.

(3) Curiously enough in October 2000, she wrote a very balanced review of John Horgan's biography of Doctor Noel Browne. Her article concluded as folows:

However, [John Horgan] concludes that Noel Browne believed the defeat of the Mother and Child Scheme, and the increasingly malign influence, as he saw it, of the Catholic Church in Ireland were prime examples of the root and branch problems which would have to be solved if the country's political needs were ever to be met. And that analysis, Horgan says, should now be seen as the part of his legacy that we can best do without. I doubt if Noel Browne would agree.

It seems to me that Emer O'Kelly does not agree either!! Her own attitude to the Catholic Church - one of sterile and useless hatred- seems to be unchanged since she wrote the above article 10 years ago. It is quite remarkable really.


Rory Connor

16 January 2011


Emer O'Kelly and Nora Wall , Sunday Independent - 28 November 1999

Emer O'Kelly on Dr Noel Browne, Sunday Independent, 29 October 2000

Emer O'Kelly, Moral Corruption and Crimine Solicitatione, Sunday Independent - August 2003