Phoenix Magazine, July 30 - August 12, 2010
John Cooney, religion correspondent for the Irish Independent and biographer of John Charles McQuaid, appears to be the object of a secular fatwa because of his accusations of child abuse against McQuaid, the late Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of All Ireland.
The latest example of a media boycott against Cooney came in the refusal of the entire media to report a word of his speech on McQuaid at the Daniel Corkery Summer School last Friday.
Cooney's biography of the late Primate, John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland, now 11 years old, was welcomed, in the main, by modern, secular Ireland but even liberals at RTÉ and The Irish Times appear to have been repelled by his accusation that McQuaid was a pederast. Despite being just one of a handful of religious correspondents in the media - and easily the most senior and long time such correspondent - Cooney has been virtually blacked by RTÉ and most other broadcasting media since the Murphy Report on clerical child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese. This, presumably, is because of his aggressive and revived allegations against the most dominant Irish cleric of the last century.
Last Friday (23rd July 2010), the Daniel Corkery Summer School heard Cooney deliver a thundering peroration of his allegations against McQuaid with what he said is additional evidence and the promise of further revealations to come in his forthcoming book, The Curse Of McQuaid. His book, Cooney claims, 'will provide numerous sordid details of McQuaid's dark secret.'
Cooney's speech last week also referred to what he claimed was further evidence of McQuaid's sexual activity. These, the journalist said, were advances made, not to children but to a young priest and 2 clerical students resulting in 2 Garda investigations into these allegations made in the the 1960's and early '70's. Cooney told his audience that the investigations cleared McQuaid - unsurprisingly, given the period - but he also claimed that the files have gone missing. Cooney also referred to other evidence he says he has unearthed in recent years which provide similar evidence against McQuaid.
Expect more fireworks at Cooney's own summer school, the General Humbert Summer School beginning 17 August.