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Cloyne Commission To Probe Possible Cover-ups

Sunday Business Post, June 07, 2009 - By John Burke

The commission examining child protection practices in the diocese of Cloyne will receive key documents detailing how information was shared between state bodies.

The inquiry had sought files from the Health Service Executive (HSE) by court order in an effort to identify discrepancies between the information given by the diocese authorities to the HSE and gardaí.

The files will be used by the commission to determine what level of information-sharing took place between local garda management and the HSE.

In one instance already known about, gardaí were informed of an allegation of child sex abuse in the diocese in 2005, but did not tell the HSE childcare authorities for more than two years. That case was uncovered in an audit of the management of abuse complaints in the diocese.

It showed that the Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, had informed a senior Garda about that complaint in December 2005.When the victim asked the HSE about the status of the case in August 2007, the HSE said it had never been informed about it by gardaí.

This was despite the fact that the 2005 report into clerical abuse in the Ferns diocese recommended direct communication in relation to all cases of alleged abuse. It formed part of subsequent national guidelines for child protection.

The Cloyne investigation team has been given until the end of July to conclude its probe into the diocese. This will almost certainly be extended, as the commission is finalising its report on abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The Dublin report will differ from the recent Ryan Commission report as it will name priests who have been convicted of abuse.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady, and Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, discussed the Ryan report with Pope Benedict at a meeting in the Vatican last week.