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Alliance Support Group - Added on April 26, 2006


By CLODAGH O'LEARY and MIKE DWANE Limerick Leader City Exclusive

THE Diocese of Limerick this Thursday evening rejected any allegations of cover-up or secrecy arising from the suicide of alleged sexual abuse victim Peter McCloskey.

A spokesman said Bishop Donal Murray wished to avoid "megaphone diplomacy" in the media with Peter's grieving relatives and abuse victims group One in Four.

But the damaging nature of some of the commentary on the affair has led to the release of a statement to the Limerick Leader in which the diocese again expresses "deep sympathy" with the family and explains the chain of events from the viewpoint of the Church in Limerick.

Among the "inaccuracies" published this week were that the diocese's first contact with Peter was in the mediation process which broke down two days prior to his death and that a complaint made against the deceased priest, Fr Denis Daly in Sydney, Australia had been settled by the archdiocese there.

The statement by Bishop Murray's spokesman makes clear that the Australian case is ongoing and that Bishop Murray first came into contact with Peter through a letter from his solicitor in April 2002.

"Peter's first personal approach to the diocese," the diocesan statement reads, "was five months later on 25 October 2002, through the diocesan delegate, whose task it is to receive complaints of child sexual abuse.

"On the morning of 6 November Peter met the diocesan secretary, and later that day he met the Bishop for the first time. At each of these meetings Peter was explicitly assured that he was believed and sorrow was expressed at the suffering which he had gone through and which was clearly troubling him deeply."

The diocese and Peter agreed on a format for the mediation process arising out of which a financial settlement was to be agreed on.

Why the talks broke down remains a mystery, however, as both parties signed a confidentiality agreement.

The statement from the Bishop's spokesman also makes clear that the diocese offered him counselling, which he refused, and later paid towards a three-month course of residential therapy for Peter and, for a brief period, paid for accommodation for him.

And the diocese has confirmed that in its own investigations of Fr Daly's time in Limerick, it became aware of another complaint made against the priest by the father of a boy who alleged Fr Daly had attempted to put his hand on his knee. This approach was "decisively rebuffed" and there was no record of the incident with the diocese or city garda'.

It only came to light when a priest recalled the allegation which was made to him in the 1980s.

But in the Limerick Leader this week, Peter's brother Joseph makes clear his frustration with the Church, reiterating his point of view that the diocese was obstructive, a view the Church disputes.

"I am not angry at Peter for taking his own life," he said, "I have been on this journey with Peter, and understand the stone wall he has been met with. The Catholic Church have acted like good cop, bad cop. Various clerics have indicated that Peter was nearing resolution, and then he would be met with a wall of denial."

21 April 2006