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Bishop Brendan Comiskey

Bishop Brendan Comiskey

This is one of eight cases in the period 1994 to 2006, in which false sexual allegations were made against an Irish Bishop. The Bishop of Ferns Brendan Comiskey went to the USA in September 1995 to get treatment for alcoholism. Immediately the media engaged in feverish speculation as to his "real" motives. Their allegations went all the way up to suggestions that he was a paedophile - the latter suggestion came from that giant of Irish broadcasting Gay Byrne. Conor Cruise O'Brien came up with almost equally vicious allegations as did journalist Veronica Guerin. (Unlike the other two, Veronica Guerin eventually apologised.)

In February 2005, Brendan Comiskey and another person were slandered by gossip columnist Amanda Brunker on Eamon Dunphy's live radio show.

Immediately after the publication of the Ferns Report in October 2005, Sunday Independent journalist Justine McCarthy claimed that the Bishop had threatened to rape her 11 years previously. (The fact that she waited until then to make the allegation, meant that it could not be subjected to scrutiny by the tribunal.) Ironically the Ferns Report included details of Father Sean Fortune's suicide note in which he blamed Bishop Comiskey for his misfortunes and claimed that the Bishop had raped him!

In April 2007 the Irish Independent apologised and paid substantial damages to a Catholic pro-life activist Niamh Nic Mhathuna, who had been libelled by Justine McCarthy in 1997. It had taken almost ten years and over 50 court appearances to obtain this result.

Brendan Comiskey and Gay Byrne - 8 October 1995

Bishop Comiskey and Veronica Guerin - 22 October 1995

Bishop Comiskey Veronica Guerin and Conor Cruise O'Brien - 11 October 1995

Bishop Comiskey and Conor Cruise O'Brien - 29 October 1995

Bishop Comiskey's Sermon in St. Aidan's Cathedral, Enniscorthy on 18 February 1996

Bishop Comiskey's Career; His Orthodoxy Was Never Queried But His Style Was - 19 February 1996

Bishop Comiskey's Sermon and Response to Allegations - 19 February 1996

Statement by Bishop Comiskey to media after his return from USA for Alcoholism Treatment - Feb 1996

Press Conference - Bishop Comiskey Answers His Critics - February 1996

Reaction to Bishop Comiskey's Press Conference of 28 February 1996

Silence on Child Abuse is Bleeding the Church by Breda O'Brien, Irish Times - 30 March 2002

Bishop Comiskey's Statement of Resignation, RTE News - 1st April 2002

Bishops Lack Management Skills and Support by Tom Savage, Irish Times - 20 April 2002

Amanda Brunker (former Miss Ireland) and the Bishop - February 2005

Bishop Comiskey Threatened to Rape Me Says Justine McCarthy - 29 October 2005

Father Sean Fortune Accuses Bishop Comiskey of Rape - Ferns Report - October 2005

Justine McCarthy Loses Libel Case - April 2007