Crime Favourites Religion

Open Letter to Cardinal Seán Brady

Hello there Seán.

It’s been a while since I wrote to you, but that’s only because, as a wounded healer, I thought you might need time to get over the terrible hurt you experienced when the world found out how you treated those abused children.  Are you feeling a little better now?


Look, Seán, this latest news isn’t great, is it?   Not great at all.

None of it looks very good, not even your claim to have been a young priest following orders when you wrote down what the abused children said.  Seán, you were 36.  You were a teacher in a secondary school, and a former county footballer, unless I’m mistaken.  Thirty six, Seán.   Most guys of that age have taken responsibility for a job, a family, a career, a home, but you say you were only a young lad.

What are you — Father Dougal?

Now, Seán, about these questions.  Did you not think it was a bit creepy of your colleague to ask a child if he enjoyed some of the sexual abuse by Brendan Smyth?  Did that not strike you as in the least bit pervy?  And yet, Seán, you wrote it all down faithfully.  As a man, did it ever occur to you to reach over and touch your fellow cleric on the shoulder, and tell him to stop asking a child such obscene questions?

It doesn’t look like you did, Seán.  It looks like you found this sort of thing perfectly normal.

I was listening to your interview on the news at lunchtime, and I must say, you didn’t come across at all well.  One thing that struck me was your constant repetition of the defence that you did what was required of you.  You passed the details to your bishop and you just assumed someone would sort it out.

I have a couple of questions for you about that, Seán.

First, you kept repeating that the information about Brendan Smyth raping children was given to the  abbott of Kilnacrott, and you said he was the only person with the power to do anything about it.  Seán, were you familiar with an organisation known as an Garda Síochána?  And since the crimes were committed in both jurisdictions, were you also familiar with an organisation known at the time as the RUC?

Did it cross your mind to report these crimes of child rape to either police force?  Apparently not.  You decided to let the abbot of Kilnacrott sort it out instead, and what a fine job he made of it.

Tommie Gorman asked you a question that you didn’t answer, Seán.  He said something along the following lines.  Did you not feel, as a man, as an uncle, a cousin, a brother, that you wanted to break every bone in Brendan Smyth’s body?  

You were a fit, strong athlete in those days, Seán, and you were no stranger to a punch-up on the field of play, so let me ask you again.  Why did you not call round to Brendan Smyth and take him by the throat?  Why did you not kick him in the crotch a few times and leave him retching in the dirt?  I know I’d do it if a child revealed to me what you heard.  What you knew.

Instead of doing that, Seán, you went on to swear the child to secrecy.  What’s more, even though the child gave you the names of five other children Brendan Smyth was raping, you never told their parents.  Instead, you left it in the hands of your bishop, who had no authority over Smyth, and the abbot of Kilnacrott who plainly cared not a tittle that one of his community was out abusing kids.  It was a matter of confidentiality, I think you said.   As a consequence, Brendan Smyth went on raping children for another twenty years, while you concentrated on your Vatican career.

Did you ever wake up at night and wonder what became of those raped kids?

I’m prepared to admit that you’re a decent enough man, Seán, but your claim not to have understood how sexual abuse hurts children is hard to accept.  After all, you are a prominent member of the organisation that for generations dictated to Irish governments and Irish people on all manner of sexual matters, including contraception.  Indeed, you yourself recently spoke out denouncing the law on civil partnership.

Isn’t it remarkable, Seán, how quick you were to invoke the law regarding same-sex couples in a loving mature relationship, yet how slow you were to call in the authorities when you knew categorically that one of your colleagues was systematically raping children?

I know you were wounded by the previous revelations about you, Seán, and it’s not that I wish you any more harm, but really, isn’t it about time you dropped the hypocrisy and started to face up to your actions like any normal grown adult?

You’re far too old to play Dougal McGuire, Seán.  It’s a role for a younger man.


Best wishes





Previously: Seán gets the Red Hat

Favourites News Television

Mary Raftery, Journalist, Dies

Mary Raftery, investigative journalist, has died at 54.

Raftery’s States of Fear documentaries exposed the violence, both emotional and physical, as well as the sexual abuse inflicted on children in the industrial schools and residential institutions of this country.  They forced a reluctant justice minister, Michael McDowell,  to set up the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse which produced the horrific Ryan Report cataloguing widespread and systematic abuse of children by members of religious orders.   Following publication of the report, which some orders resisted to the last, the Residential Institutions Redress Board was set up, with all its flaws and inequities.

Raftery’s Prime Time report in 2002, titled Cardinal Secrets, exposed the extent of sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese and led to the creation of the Murphy Commission of Investigation, which  exposed further clerical horrors and shook the Irish Catholic church to its roots, leading the Irish government to issue an unprecedented condemnation of the Vatican’s role in protecting clerical rapists .

Her sense of justice wasn’t confined to clerics.  The documentary Behind the Walls, broadcast last September, investigated the practice of imprisoning Irish citizens in mental institutions, without trial, on the say-so of a doctor.  People who didn’t fit in, who were awkward, who were too outspoken or who might have been an obstacle to somebody inheriting a farm, were all locked away to rot in these State-run jails.  According to Raftery, there was a time when Ireland imprisoned more people per head of population  in psychiatric institutions than they did in the Soviet Union.

Despite being demonised by diehard elements of the Catholic right who believed that a woman’s role is silence, Mary Raftery continued to poke and dig at the rotten underbelly of our heartless little country.

Mary Raftery’s death is Ireland’s loss.

Religion Sexual abuse

Was Archbishop John Charles McQuaid a Paedophile?

There was a time when Planet Ireland orbited its own smug, self-satisfied star, held on course by a mysterious force known as certainty.  That was an era when Irish missionaries roamed darkest Africa, ridding the natives of their superstitions and giving them new ones.  It was a time when children on Planet Ireland were locked up in prisons run by brutal, ignorant rapists, when priests dictated to legislators what laws they might pass regulating private sexual behaviour of grown adults.  It was an era when priests and bishops could bring down an entire government with a single word, and when Prime Ministers of our little planetoid were happy to grovel on their knees before a Prince of the Church.

Nobody exemplifies this power more than John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin from 1940 to 1972.   While still president of Blackrock College, McQuaid played a huge part in drafting the 1937 constitution in much the same way as an Iranian cleric might today.  When Ayatollah McQuaid, clicked his fingers government ministers jumped.

But what’s this?  According to the Irish Times, the HSE failed to pass two sex-abuse complaints against McQuaid to the Murphy commission, which was therefore unable to investigate the allegations.

The Murphy commission accepted that the failure was due to human error, but it seems extraordinary that the HSE would not grasp the explosive significance of the documents it had in its possession.

According to the journalist, Patsy McGarry,   McQuaid was fond of a tipple and often dropped into a pub near his residence for a quick nip to steady his nerves.  On one such occasion, according to McGarry, the landlord’s child came running down the stairs, crying and saying that McQuaid had done something to him.  The Archbishop was immediately ejected from the premises.

A Prince of the Church

Nothing would surprise me about the institution McQuaid represented.  In 1960, according to the commission report, McQuaid was contacted by Garda Commissioner Costigan about obscene photographs of young girls in Crumlin children’s hospital, taken by one of his priests, Paul McGennis when he was chaplain there.  Costigan had been contacted by Scotland Yard after a security officer at a British film-processing laboratory intercepted the film and informed the police.  However, instead of investigating a crime, Costigan chose to abdicate his responsibility and pass the matter to McQuaid.  The archbishop did nothing, and McGennis went on to abuse children for a further forty years.  It says much about the power wielded by these men that not even the Garda Commissioner had the courage to stand up to them.

Perhaps now we understand more clearly why McQuaid, a notoriously severe man, was so lenient with a child abuser.

Perhaps they shared more in common than just a dog collar.

Planet Ireland’s orbit has been waning for some time.  I wonder if the McQuaid story will be the one that finally cuts the gravitational umbilical cord and sends our little planetoid spinning into the void until captured by a different star?


Health warning: unfortunately, the Wikipedia article on McQuaid is contaminated by the involvement of an active apologist for clerical abusers, who claims to have created most of it.  It’s not a reliable source.


Politics Religion

Irish Embassy in Vatican Closed

What do the Holy See and East Timor have in common?

That’s right — the Irish government doesn’t give a flying toss about either of them.  Both embassies are to close, ostensibly as a cost-saving measure, but in reality because they’ve become irrelevant.  The Vatican has disgraced itself so much that it no longer commands respect even among those Irish who still practise Catholicism, and after its haughty dismissal of concerns over child-abuse, it was only a matter of time before the once-strong relationship hit rock bottom.

Mayor of Dublin kisses bishop's ring

It’s been a long way down for an outfit whose officials once had the power to summon Irish prime ministers before them and lay down the law on government.   Many today complain that we’re now ruled from Berlin, and that might well be true, but it’s not the first time a foreign state dictated Irish public policy.  For generations, the shape of Irish education and healthcare  was defined in Rome and transmitted to obedient government ministers by the Papal Nuncio, whose word was law and who was accorded preferential treatment over all other foreign diplomats.  As recently as 1978, contraception was illegal in Ireland due to Vatican interference and the compliance of craven politicians.

Today, there is no Nuncio, since Leanza was withdrawn by the Holy See in a tantrum after Enda Kenny dared to criticise it.  And now there’s no Irish embassy either.  Instead, a civil servant in Dublin will act as ambassador to that ridiculous little statelet that presumes to instruct real countries how to conduct their business.  It’s a long way from the 1932 Eucharistic Congress where bishops and cardinals preened and strutted their way across the capital city of a country whose inhabitants were close to starvation, while politicians prostrated themselves before these dysfunctional old celibates.

John Charles McQuaid with DeValera

Seán Brady and Séamus Martin are predictably outraged.  Brady in particular seems completely flabbergasted that any Irish government would dare to disregard the wishes of his masters.  Apparently oblivious to the irony of his words, Brady said I hope that despite this regrettable step, the close and mutually beneficial co-operation between Ireland and the Holy See in the world of diplomacy can continue.

Perhaps, instead of pontificating, Brady would be better occupied contemplating his decision to impose an oath of silence on young sex-abuse victims.  Perhaps he might consider stepping down from his office and explaining to the people of Ireland precisely how far he went in covering up the crimes of his fellow priests.

Meanwhile, Garry O’Sullivan the editor of the Irish Catholic, called the move an attack on Catholic culture.  They haven’t gone away, you know.

The Vatican is reported to be stunned, as all overbearing bullies are when somebody stands up to them, but this move, while a good start, is still only a start.  Now let’s get them out of our schools and out of our health system.

There’s no room for a priest lurking at the back of a classroom or behind the screen in a hospital ward.



Politics Religion

Statement by Government of Ireland On Holy See Response to Cloyne

I can think of nothing to add to the Irish government’s statement on the Holy See’s legalistic, dishonest and self-serving comments last week.  It signals clearly that the time has passed when any Irish government will put up with the word-games, the half-truths, all the evasions and all the mental reservation of the Vatican lawyers who cobbled together that disgraceful document.

Here’s the full text.

Favourites Religion

The IF-Word. Bishop John Magee Still in Denial About Cloyne Abuse

You have to love those bishops with their mental reservation.  They never go anywhere without a spare IF or BUT in their trouser pocket just in case they find themselves face to face with embarrassing facts that need to be blurred, and John Magee is no exception.  We’d expect no less from a former Vatican insider, even if the Vatican did elbow him out fairly sharply in the end.

This is the bishop who lied to the government, lied to the HSE and wrote a report on an abuse case that deliberately concealed material facts about an abuser.

On Planet Magee, all that deceit amounts to nothing more than a failure to fully implement child-protection guidelines.  Today he issued a statement about the Cloyne sexual abuse report — a statement full of evasions and avoidances, apparently written by a public-relations firm.  In particular, Magee betrays his complete detachment from the reality of the Cloyne scandal by his use of the word failure

This is absolute dishonesty.  Failure is an honourable thing if it follows sincere effort, but Magee made no such effort.  He couldn’t have failed because he never tried.  The Commission report found that he actively lied, deceived and covered up material facts. He did little or nothing to investigate allegations of child abuse, and he appointed a man to deal with victims who believed that church law was superior to the law of the land.

This wasn’t a failure.  This was a self-styled prince of the church, placing the welfare of his organisation above the needs of rape victims, and thumbing his nose at Irish civil authority.

To compound the insult, Magee made a public statement in which he said that if his actions had caused hurt, he begged forgiveness from the victims.


Was there some doubt?  If so, it existed only in the minds of people like John Magee and his Canon-Law sidekick, O Callaghan.

As I often said before, these are the people who still control our primary schools.  This is the mindset of the people who can fire a teacher on a whim.


Previously: Magee Apologises


Papal Nuncio’s Diplomatic Immunity

We were standing around in the pub of choice, debating the thorny matter of Vatican diplomatic immunity.  And when I say standing around, I mean of course that some were sitting around and one or two were lying around.  You know who you are!

What the fuck does diplomatic immunity mean? demanded a voice, from somewhere at my feet.

Sir, you have the floor, I conceded.

It means, said someone else, that if the Papal Nuncio runs into a shopping mall with a chainsaw and dismembers twenty or thirty young mothers and old-age pensioners, he can’t be prosecuted.


Because he’s a diplomat.  He’s immune.  You can’t arrest diplomats.

I didn’t think he was very diplomatic with the shite he was talking last week, said someone else.

You can arrest diplomats if they don’t reach their car in time.


The embassy limousine is considered to be foreign soil.

The car?  The car is foreign soil?

Yep.  If the registration says CD, nobody can touch him.  That stands for Corps Diplomatique.  It’s French.

That’s shite.

No it’s not.  But he must have a chauffeur and the engine has to be running.

So if the engine stalls, the car stops being foreign soil?

Yes.  That’s the law.

That’s bollocks.

No it’s not.  Look it up.

What if the Papal Nuncio pulls down his pants and waves the Apostolic Appendage out the  window?

Same thing.  Cops can’t touch the prick.

That’s bollocks.


How about if he had a diplomatic bag?  Could he jump into it?

He could, and he’d be safe from arrest provided he made sure to zip it up.

So the Papal Nuncio, in theory, could run around a suburban shopping centre, dismembering small children with a chainsaw while waving his bollocks at the public and as long as he jumps into a bag when the slaughter is ended, there’s not a damn thing the cops can do about it?

Not a damn thing.

Fuck.  That’s amazing.

Not only that, but he doesn’t even need a bag since we all signed the Groenhavningen Convention.  All he has to do is pull on the Diplomatic Hat and in the eyes of the law he’s on foreign soil.


Deadly serious.  A beret will do.  Or a Panama hat.  A monkey cap.  Anything at all as long as it has a little badge on it that says CD.  That’s Chapeau Diplomatique.  It’s French.

How about a Yarmulka?

Yes, if the Papal Nuncio happens to be Jewish.

An umbrella?

I heard it doesn’t even have to be a hat.

That’s true.  Technically, it could be a sock.  Or a bra.  Or a strap-on dildo. Or a tutu.

How about a glove?


An apron?  With a gimp-mask?


A handkerchief.

At a sneeze.

A glove?




Or a condom?

No.  The Vatican forbids condoms.

How about a willy-warmer?

Yeah. That would work.

So let me get this clear.  If the Papal Nuncio, in theory, happened to go berserk in a shopping mall with a chainsaw, while wearing a diplomatic hat, gloves, sunglasses and jockstrap, there isn’t a thing the cops could do.


Suppose, said a voice from the floor region, suppose he had a diplomatic chainsaw?

Eh …

Or a diplomatic machine-gun?

Well, strictly speaking, as long as he could wear the chainsaw or the machine-gun as a hat …

They can’t shoot him?

Even if he happens to be mowing people down at random?

Even if he happens to be dismembering members of the public.  They can’t shoot him.

No.  He’s on foreign soil.  It would be an act of war against the Vatican.

They’d probably send in the Swiss Guard.

Oh God, you couldn’t have that.

No. No.  God no.

No no no no.  Certainly not.

Jesus no.







Cloyne Scandal — Bishop John Magee Apologises

Bishop John Magee, I see, from his secret American hideaway has issued a sort of apology for the fact that he covered up the crimes of his employees, didn’t bother to protect the children from those same employees and falsified the records he kept of conversations with the abusers.

In his apology, Magee refers to his actions as “failures”, thereby compounding his original dishonesty and seeking to repeat the lie.

Bishop John Magee did not fail.

Failure implies effort.  John Magee made no effort to deal with sex abuse by his employees.  Indeed, according to the commission’s report, he actively tried to hide their crimes.

John Magee wrote two reports about the same interview with a rapist priest.  One version was for his employers in Rome, and it told the truth : the rapist admitted his crimes.  The other version was for Irish consumption and it said that the rapist denied everything.  Which was true?  The version that went to Rome, a supposedly independent state.  Which was a lie?  The version that stayed in Ireland.

John Magee actively worked to conceal a crime from the police.  He has no business apologising for his failures, since this was not a failure.  This was a success, by his standards, and it was only because of a government decision that his actions were exposed.

Like all his fellow bishops, Magee had only one objective — to protect the Catholic church, not the children, and after that, to protect himself.

Let me keep saying it.  These people run our schools.  If a private educational contractor proved this dangerous and corrupt, it would immediately lose its State contract and its executives would be arrested.

Is that not a fact?

Yet Magee keeps spinning the truth, which is hardly a surprise.   He and his colleagues will never, ever understand that the game is up.  They’re a profoundly damaged bunch of old men with no grasp of the new realities.  Froim here on, it’s up to the government.

Forget Canon Law.  This is supposedly a republic and it’s about time we saw it being run as a republic, as opposed to the theocracy it has been for too long.





Report by Commission of Investigation into Catholic Diocese of Cloyne

The Cloyne diocese report has been issued and a download is available here.

Among other findings, the commission found that

The Vatican showed no interest in helping to set up systems for protecting children from abusive clerics.

John Magee, the bishop at the time, failed to operate the agreed child-protection measures and showed no interest in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse.  He lied to the minister for children and the HSE about complying with his church’s own guidelines.

The diocese chose not to report certain complaints to the Gardai, even though it was obvious that they were police matters.

Magee deliberately hid the real facts about child abuse cases and failed to confront child abuse until he was forced to do so.

The diocese knew about sexual abuse and its consequences but still failed to provide support for people making complaints.


The Cloyne report underlines what all previous investigations have said.  When it came to sexual abuse of children, the Irish state was happy to place power in the hands of the abusers.

Instead of imposing law-driven rules on priests the same as any other human being, Ireland accepted guidelines, framework documents, assurances and voluntary commitments.

It still does.

In this country, control of our primary schools is for the most part in the hands of the people who protected paedophiles.  If the head of a primary school opposes a priest, he or she risks not being paid, even when that priest is a predatory child-abuser demanding that children be delivered to him for rape.

You think  I made that up?  I did not.  It happened and is documented in Judge Yvonne Murphy’s report on child abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, which covers all of Cork except the city.

John Magee, bishop of Cloyne, lied to the health service, lied to the government and personally behaved inappropriately to a teenager during the investigation.  A priest appointed by Magee as chairman of a school’s board of management threatened a school principal with loss of salary  if she didn’t supply him with children to abuse.

This didn’t happen 100 years ago.  This happened in the last few years.

Magee himself abdicated responsibility for child protection, handing this function to a character by the name of O’Callaghan, a canon lawyer, whose main concern was protection of the church.  These guys truly believed that the law of the land was secondary to the law of Rome, but this wasn’t in the dark ages.  This was only a few years ago, in the new millennium.

O’Callaghan was a professor of moral theology in Maynooth prior to his appointment in Cloyne and may well have regarded his role as one of confusing the police and everyone else he regaarded as his intellectual inferior.  This is a characteristic common among these frustrated celibate old men whose only pastime is to play games with the authorities.

The bishop prepared two reports on a  particular case — one that went to Rome detailing full details os a sex abuse case, and another for local consumption, with the true facts omitted, in case somebody might discover it.

It’s over.  It’s time our government removed any semblance of authority from these dysfunctional old witch-doctors.  They have no qualifications to be in control of our schools and it’s time we removed these people from control of our children.  They are not to be trusted.


Crime Favourites

Abuse Survivors Refused Entry To Diarmuid Martin’s Service of Repentance in Pro-Cathedral

This is the moment when a disabled abuse survivor and the daughter of a woman imprisoned in the Magdalene laundries were refused admission to a Catholic church by stewards and a policeman.  The woman wanted to hand a letter of protest to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin who was holding a service of “lament and repentance” for the failures of the Catholic church to protect abuse victims.

Paddy Doyle recounted the incident as follows:

The lady in the picture describes herself as the daughter of a “Magdalene Woman” and wanted to deliver a letter to Bishop O’Malley.  I offered to help out but once I did that the police and the  stewards at the Pro Cathedral refused to allow either me or the lady into the church.