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Ex-Cloyne Cleric Criticises Choice of ‘Bishop’s Friend’ as Successor

Irish Examiner, March 09, 2009 by Claire O’Sullivan

A PRIEST who left the Diocese of Cloyne over its handling of child sex abuse allegations has criticised the decision to allow a close friend of Bishop John Magee to take over as administrator of the diocese.

Bishop Magee announced on Saturday that he would no longer be looking after the day-to-day running of the diocese as he wanted to concentrate on the large volume of paperwork necessitated by the Archdiocese of Dublin Commission of Inquiry into child protection practices in east Cork.

The Pope announced that the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, the Most Reverend Dermot Clifford, is to take over as apostolic administrator.

Last night, Father Matthew Ring, who now works as a social worker in Britain, said that Archbishop Clifford’s appointment did not suggest there was a "true break from the past as Archbishop Clifford and Bishop Magee are close friends".

"I have an issue in terms of how objective he will be if he finds more issues in the diocese that require further investigation. I would be much happier to see somebody like Bishop Eamon Walsh come in as he would mark a new departure and has proven his capability in dealing with the Ferns inquiry," he said.

He also said that he would have liked Bishop Magee’s successor to deal with the inquiry so that the bishop couldn’t "cover his tracks".

Father Ring, originally from Ballyhea in north Cork, left the diocese nine years ago over his "utter disillusionment and deep disgust" with its handling of sex abuse complaints.

He said that the diocese’s former child protection delegate, Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan, should also be moved from his position as Vicar General.

"Along with the bishop, he was at the centre of supposed child protection in the diocese," he said.

Father Ring wrote to the papal nuncio earlier this year seeking the resignation of Bishop Magee and Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan.

In his letter to Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, Fr Ring spoke of the "culture of denial" that exists in Cloyne and that has been "allowed to prevail and go unchecked for an incredibly long period of time".

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, March 09, 2009