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Ex-Cloyne Priest Joins Calls for Bishop to Resign

Irish Examiner, December 22, 2008 by Claire O’Sullivan

A PRIEST who left the Diocese of Cloyne nine years ago over his deep disgust at how child sex allegations were being covered up has joined the growing number of people calling for Bishop John Magee to resign, saying it is in the best interests of the Church.

Father Matthew Ring stood down from the diocese in 1999 due to his "utter disillusionment and deep disgust" with its handling of sex abuse complaints. He called on the Minister for Children, Barry Andrews, to ask the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation to further examine practices in Cloyne.

"I posed the question to Bishop Magee at the time of my resignation: how can I baptise innocent children into a system when they run the risk of being abused and never see justice? What I got was a stoney silence," he said.

Just last Easter, Fr Ring, from Ballyhea, near Charleville in Co Cork, approached the bishop about a family who had made a complaint against the diocese "but were getting the runaround".

"I got the same reaction as ever. I pressed upon him that victims of abuse require truth, validation, redress and closure. He went silent. What has been allowed to happen is vile in the extreme."

Opposition politicians, victims of alleged abuse in Cloyne and the lay religious organisation Voice of the Faithful have all said Bishop Magee’s position is untenable. However the bishop has said he won’t resign, emphasising the allegations in the report were not proven and he is implementing all of the recommendations.

Fr Ring, 48, now lives in Southampton. "I am still a priest. But I believe the Church has forgotten about its people," he said.

A spokesman for the Minister for Children said a HSE report being compiled on the handling of abuse claims in Cloyne is being examined by legal teams and could not give a date for its publication.