IN AN UNPRECEDENTED move, Cardinal Cahal Daly, Primate of All Ireland, has offered a detailed account of his own role in the recent scandal that rocked the Irish Government and Church.
Addressing the issue of Fr Brendan Smyth, the priest convicted of paedophilia, whose delayed extradition to Northern Ireland brought down the government of Albert Reynolds, Cardinal Daly said "It has become clear to me from many reports and commentaries in the media, both in Ireland and elsewhere, that there is widespread public misunderstanding about my own role relative to the Fr Smyth case. It is, therefore, necessary for me to clarify my position." The Cardinal goes on to offer a chronology of events leading up to the revelations last month.
"From early March 1990, the Church and Church agencies in Down and Connor had ensured that the following steps were taken: (a) The RUC had been informed and the police investigation had begun; (b) the statutory health and social services had been informed; (c) professional advice and help had been provided for the victim and the family; (d) the accused priest's Religious Superior had been informed and had undertaken to deal effectively with Fr Smyth."
The Cardinal concluded that "At no time was I aware, nor was I made aware, of Fr Brendan Smyth's long previous history of paedophile crimes... I have never had any knowledge of any ministerial placements of Fr Smyth at any period of his ministry."