Kilmore Diocese allowed Brendan Smyth back to full ministry

CARDINAL Sean Brady is understood to be “reflecting seriously on his future” amid new allegations of cover-ups by the Catholic Church – particularly the Kilmore Diocese in the Brendan Smyth child abuse scandal.

CARDINAL Sean Brady is understood to be “reflecting seriously on his future” amid new allegations of cover-ups by the Catholic Church – particularly the Kilmore Diocese in the Brendan Smyth child abuse scandal.

The fallout continues from a BBC documentary ‘The Shame of the Catholic Church’ which last week revealed that Cardinal Brady had a list of children’s names who were being abused but failed to inform gardai and their parents in 1975. The cardinal said as a “note taker” he gave the information to his superior, Bishop Francis Mac Kiernan a native of Aughawillan Co Leitrim, but no action was taken against Smyth and he was able to continue abusing children for a further 20 years.

According to a statement issued by current Bishop of Kilmore, Dr Leo O’Reilly, in 1984 Smyth asked the then Bishop, the late Dr Francis MacKiernan, to lift the ban put in place in 1975.

Following consultations with the then Abbott of Smyth’s monastery, Bishop MacKiernan acceded to Smyth’s request. The statement adds that, at first, permission to return to hearing confessions and celebrating Mass publicly in the diocese was given for periods of six months at a time. Three years later, the period was extended to 12 months.

Permission was renewed each subsequent year until 1993 when Bishop MacKiernan learned that the DPP in Northern Ireland was bringing a criminal prosecution against Smyth. Cardinal Brady had ceased to be Bishop MacKiernan’s Secretary five years before the decision to allow Smyth to return to full public ministry.

Over the weekend a former pupil at St Patrick’s College in Cavan, has alleged that he was abused after 1975 at the college when Smyth visited there. The cardinal was a teacher at the same school at the same time. Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for a full investigation into Smyth and the handling of accusations against him by both the church and the State north and South. Cardinal Brady did not appear at masses in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh last Sunday as the fallout continues.