Irish Catholic leader refuses to quit

The leader of the Roman Catholic
Church in Ireland is facing huge pressure to resign amid allegations he
witnessed teenage abuse victims take vows of silence over a paedophile.

Cardinal Sean Brady, the Primate of
All Ireland, admitted that he attended meetings in 1975 when two teenage boys
signed oaths of silence while testifying in a Church inquiry against Father
Brendan Smyth.

The priest was later uncovered as
the most notorious child abuser in the Irish Catholic Church, carrying out more
than 90 sexual assaults against 40 youngsters in a 20-year period.

Survivors’ groups say the
revelations show the cardinal colluded in the cover up of Smyth’s crimes –
which, they say, allowed the cleric to continue offending – and say he must
quit immediately.

Cardinal Brady has refused to go,
however, because he said he acted promptly against Smyth but did not have the authority
to turn him into the Gardai.

Maeve Lewis, of support group One
in Four, said: ‘This latest disclosure removes Cardinal Brady’s credibility to
provide the leadership that is so vital at this time, leaving him no option but
to resign.’

Abuse campaigner Colm O’Gorman said
Cardinal Brady ‘is now deeply personally implicated in the gross failures
of the Catholic Church in the management of Smyth and his rampant sexual
offending against children.’

The revelations date to a time when
Brady was a priest and a part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore,
Francis McKiernan.

He attended two meetings where the
complainants gave their testimonies and signed undertakings, on oath, to
respect the confidentiality of the inquiry. 

Afterwards, Father Brady passed
reports of the meetings to Bishop McKiernan for his ‘immediate action’.

Cardinal Brady said today that he
would not be resigning because he had done nothing wrong.

‘I did act, and act effectively, in
that inquiry to produce the grounds for removing Father Smyth from ministry and
specifically it was underlined that he was not to hear confessions and that was
very important.’