Email Us My Blog


Suicide Victim's Parents Say Bishop Should Go
Irish Independent Friday December 04 2009 by Barry Duggan

THE parents of a clerical sex abuse victim who took his own life have repeated their call for the Bishop of Limerick to resign.

Peter McCloskey (37) died in 2006 after repeated attempts to seek redress from Dr Donal Murray and the Limerick diocese following the sexual abuse he suffered as an altar boy in the early 1980s.

He was repeatedly raped by deceased priest, Fr Denis Daly in the Caherdavin parish between 1980 and 1981.

Mr McCloskey reported the matter to the bishop and his family in 2002, but tragically died by suicide four years later.

Last night, Peter McCloskey's parents, Aidan and Mary and his brother and sister, Joseph and Aida, called for the resignation of Dr Murray.

They said he "should stand aside and be subject to the discipline he, and his fellow bishops, impose on all priests".

They claim that when Peter attempted to take up his case with the Limerick diocese, he was met with a "wall of silence and bully-boy" tactics behind closed doors from the bishop's advisors.

Peter's father, mother, brother and sister claimed the cover-up of clerical child sex abuse "is endemic and country-wide in the Catholic Church".

Their comments came as Peter's former wife, Cathy and her children insisted that Dr Murray be allowed to stay on.

Since Peter's death, Cathy said she and her teenage daughters have received constant support from Dr Murray.

Cathy asked that the children be allowed to remember their father privately.

"My and Peter's children are extremely traumatised by the publicity that their dad's death is receiving in recent days.

"They are all secondary school girls who should be allowed live their lives without the focus of the national and worldwide media on them."

- Barry Duggan


Dead Man's Wife Claims Under-fire Bishop is Also Victim
Irish Independent December 03 2009 by Barry Duggan

THE former wife and daughter of a child sex abuse victim who took his own life believe the Bishop of Limerick should be allowed to continue his work.

Cathy McCloskey, whose husband Peter died three years ago after repeated attempts to seek redress from Dr Donal Murray following the sexual abuse he suffered, said the bishop should not be forced from office. Peter McCloskey was repeatedly raped by Fr Denis Daly, who has since died, in the Caherdavin parish while serving as an altar boy in 1980/81. He reported the matter to Dr Murray in 2002, but died four years later.

After Dr Murray was named in last week's Murphy report, Peter's father Aidan said that "a criminal would have been treated better by the bishop" and called for the bishop's immediate resignation.

However, Mrs McCloskey and her daughter Amy said they have received great support from Dr Murray since Peter's death in 2006.

Mrs McCloskey said Dr Murray's critics were looking for a senior church member to blame.

"They're looking for a head on a plate. They are trying to get Bishop Murray out of office.

"He is a victim of an institution and it is not fair," she said.

Despite Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin saying he was not happy with Dr Murray's reply to the Murphy report, Mrs McCloskey said yesterday that he has dealt adequately with the affair.

"I think he should remain. I can understand people's anger, but I know Donal Murray personally. He is a very kind, humane man. He is very shy in his ways."

Amy (17) added that Dr Murray has "been there" for herself and her sisters at all times.

"He has helped us and is very caring, he is constantly ringing asking if we are ok. Even there only a few days ago, he asked could he come out to see how we were doing," Amy said.

- Barry Duggan


Bishop's Future in Balance as Diocese Looks at Resignation
Irish Independent Wednesday December 02 2009 By Barry Duggan

THE fate of the besieged Bishop of Limerick hung in the balance last night as arrangements began across his diocese for a series of meetings to decide whether he should stay or resign.

Dr Donal Murray is anxiously waiting to hear back from the parishes of the Limerick diocese to gauge the public and priests' reaction to the shocking revelations in the Murphy report.

The bishop has been under severe pressure to resign after the report labelled his failure to investigate a paedophile priest during his time as an auxiliary bishop in the Dublin Archdiocese as "inexcusable".

This week, Dr Murray asked for guidance from the clergy and people living in the diocese and said the question of his resignation is a matter of whether his presence is a help or a hindrance to the diocese.

Further meetings are due to take place over coming days throughout Limerick after a meeting of 80 people -- including priests, diocesan workers and volunteers -- who declared their "unanimous, unequivocal support" for the beleaguered clergyman.

Limerick priest Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon,said future meetings to discuss the ongoing controversy will take place at all levels. He said the consultation process will try to take in the views of as many people as possible.

A clear picture on Dr Murray's future is not expected for some time.

"We will shortly be calling for meetings at pastoral area level, the newly established pastor areas, and also for meetings at parish level with pastoral councils," said Fr Fitzgibbon.

He said the initial meeting of diocesan workers was the first step in responding to Dr Murray's request for assistance.

"There will certainly be other meetings as we widen out that process of consultation amongst the people of the diocese to offer that guidance to our bishop," Fr Fitzgibbon said.

Dr Murray had no scheduled public appointments yesterday and has remained silent since appearing at a Sunday morning Mass at St Joesph's Church in Limerick city.

A spokesman for Dr Murray said his position had not changed since his weekend homily. Neither has the Limerick Bishop received any communication from the Vatican since the Murphy report was published.

Yesterday, a relative of sex abuse victim Peter McCloskey, who took his own life in 2006 after he repeatedly unsuccessfully sought redress from Dr Murray, said the family were reserving their position and did not wish to make any comment.

A prominent theologian has also urged there to be no scapegoating of Dr Murray. Fr Eamonn Conway is a professor of theology at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. He said: "It is one thing not to protect someone who has done wrong; it is another to collude in his scapegoating.

"There are many respects in which Bishop Murray has served the Irish Church and its people well, and this should not be forgotten when the focus is on his failings and when resignation is being considered."

- Barry Duggan


Relatives of Tragic Victim again Call on Cleric to Quit
Irish Independent Tuesday December 01 2009 by Barry Duggan

THIS is the second time in recent years that Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray has been at the centre of a controversy over clerical sex abuse.

Abuse victim Peter McCloskey took his own life in 2006 after he unsuccessfully attempted to seek redress from Bishop Murray over the sexual abuse he suffered on numerous occasions at the hands of a priest in the diocese in the 1980s.

Since the shocking revelations in the Murphy report, McCloskey family members have called on Bishop Murray to resign.

Peter's father Aidan had said "a criminal would have been treated better by the bishop".

The deceased man's brother, Joseph, accused the bishop of treating his brother "disgracefully" and supported his father's call for the prelate's resignation.

When contacted last night, his mother Mary did not wish to comment.

In 2002, Peter McCloskey approached Dr Murray and reported that he had been raped by a priest who previously served in his diocese.

Peter, then aged 33, had that year summoned the courage to inform his family of the torment he had suffered as a child.

While serving as an altar boy in Caherdavin parish in 1980 to 1981, Peter was raped on numerous occasions in the church sacristy by Fr Denis Daly from Ogonnelloe, Co Clare.

Fr Daly had worked in Sydney, but was banished by police on foot of what was recorded in his diocesan file as "a moral lapse". He served in Limerick from 1980 until his death in 1987.

The priest, who was often moved between parishes across the world, was never brought to justice.

In 2004, Peter went to Australia to examine the file held on Fr Daly by his former diocese. It contained documents covering 30 years of sexual abuse by the priest and included correspondence between the Australian Church and their Irish counterparts.

Upon returning home, Peter, a married father of three children, tried to take the matter up with Bishop Murray again, but was rebutted and met with legal threats from the clergy.

Peter became depressed after Bishop Murray's dismissal. In March 2006, he attended what was described as a 'mediation conference' with the Limerick diocese. However, these talks failed Peter, and he took his own life on April 1, 2006.

- Barry Duggan