March 15, 2010

Cardinal Brady denies responsibility for abuse cover-up

by Benjamin Graham

Cardinal Sean Brady has rejected calls for his resignation over his role in the cover-up of crimes by paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth.

Cardinal Brady, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, said he had attended meetings with two of Smyth’s victims in 1975 in which they were asked to sign a vow of silence.

However, he denied that his presence at the meetings made him responsible for the cover up.

“There was no cover up, I believed those people. I brought what I heard to the bishop,” he said.

The complaints were investigated by Cardinal Brady in his capacity as secretary to the bishop of Kilmore in 1975.

The Cardinal claimed he was following the bishop’s orders, and that in the 1970s there were no guidelines for dealing with child abuse allegations.

“Now I know with hindsight that I should have done more,” he said.

“I thought at that time I was doing what I was required to do, and not just that, but most effectively.

“I acted with great urgency to get that evidence and produce it,

“I believed in doing so, I was following the most effective route to get this stopped.

“That is my concern and always was – the safety of children.”

He claimed that his actions helped to see Father Smyth removed from office.

However, although Smyth was thrown out of the Catholic Church, he went on to abuse again before being convicted by a criminal court in the 1990s.

Maeve Lewis of One in Four, a support group for survivors of abuse, believes the Cardinal’s position is now untenable.

“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,” she said.

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