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McQuaid Claims Unexplained [Detective Inspector Joe Devane]

Irish Examiner, 8 November 1999 by Barry O’Halloran

THE author of a controversial book which claims that the late Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, was a homosexual and paedophile last night said that sex abuse allegations against the church leader were still unexplained, despite reports that a garda investigation cleared him of charges involving a student over 20 years ago.

Journalist John Cooney called on the garda authorities to publish details of the investigation, and to state if there had been any other cases involving Dr McQuaid, and warned that the public would suspect a cover up if these were not explained now.

Mr Cooney stressed that the incident involving the student was not related to the evidence which he claims to have against the Archbishop. He says he has evidence that Dr McQuaid, 20th Century Ireland’s most powerful and influential church leader, molested a Dublin publican’s son in the late 1950s. The hotly disputed claim is said to have originated in papers belonging to former Minister for Health, the late Dr Noel Browne, and passed on to Mr Cooney via a retired school inspector.

According to reports in a Sunday newspaper, retired Garda Inspector Joe Devane has confirmed that he probed allegations against Dr McQuaid uncovered during an investigation into illegal homosexual acts involving two clerical students from All Hallows College and one from Clonliffe College in Dublin. But the ex garda did not uncover any evidence of wrongdoing on the Archbishop’s part.

Speaking from Scotland last night, Mr Cooney claimed Mr Devane made a reference to the investigation during a brief conversation at the ex garda’s home early last year.

The journalist and author had approached him seeking an interview while he was researching the book about McQuaid, but the request was refused.

"I now welcome the confirmation by Inspector Joe Devane that there was an inquiry involving Dr McQuaid’s role in an alleged sex scandal," he said. "I would call on the garda authorities to explain to the public if there were other cases involving Dr McQuaid which were investigated."

He added that up to last week the late Archbishop was squeaky clean, but argued that it has since emerged that he was the subject of an inquiry.

The allegations involving the publican’s son are said to be far graver than the All Hallows incident investigated by the gardaí, which sprang from a remark made by a student who fell ill during a visit to Lourdes and was helped by Dr McQuaid.

As Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid wielded huge influence on the country as a whole. He was close to Fianna Fail founder and former Taoiseach Eamon DeValera, the architect of the 1937 Constitution, and other political figures.

During the early 1950s, he led opposition to the Mother and Child Scheme, a welfare programme proposed by Dr Noel Browne, who was a minister in the inter party coalition elected in 1948. The controversy ended in an election, and the scheme was never introduced. Dr Browne remained a bitter opponent of Dr McQuaid afterwards