This press release was sent to ACAL by FIOS, which is a community base, non-profit education and training group – www.exploregweedore.com
As the 50th Eucharistic Congress reaches its climax this week, a People’s Petition launched in west Donegal containing almost 500 signatures requesting the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady was delivered this week to his central office in Armagh, seat of the Primate of All Ireland (see photo attached, caption below).
The petition, launched in late May in Falcarragh, has been signed by people from nearby towns such as Gortahork and Dunfanaghy, as well as by persons in the wider Donegal area such as Letterkenny, Milford and Ballybofey. Outside visitors to the county – including Dublin, Galway and Belfast – have also signed the petition. An online version of the petition has attracted signatories from places as diverse as Sydney, New York and Paris.
The Petition was started following revelations in the BBC ‘This World’ documentary hosted by Darragh MacIntyre that showed Brady withheld all information from parents, the Gardai and social service agencies about former priest and multiple child abuser Brendan Smyth following an in-depth interview he conducted with an abused 14-year-old boy, Brendan Boland. Brady made the young boy sign a document forbidding him from revealing any information to any other person or group except designated representatives of the Catholic Church. The boy had given Brady – then a priest named John Brady, and a canon lawyer – details and contact information on other young boys and girls that Smyth was abusing. The children nor their parents were ever contacted, nor were the appropriate authorities notified. Consequently, Smyth continued to abuse children for a further ten years.
Upon receiving the petition on the grounds of Armagh Cathedral earlier this week where Cardinal Brady has his offices, the church representative there declined to make any comment, saying the Cardinal was ‘extremely busy’ with the Eucharistic Congress, as was his diocesan secretary Rev Michael Toner. Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, one of the prime organisers of the Congress, told RTE he was ready to meet with those behind the People’s Petition. A formal invitation has gone out to the Archbishop to travel to Donegal and see some of the places where sexual abuse of children has taken place and talk to some of the abused.
In related news, some local people have voiced the opinion that the parish house where jailed pedophile priest Eugene Green abused some of the children in the Gortahork area should be demolished because of what it symbolised and because it made healing much more difficult for local people who had been abused as children and still live in the area.
“I spoke several times to Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, about this,” said Tony McFadden, who signed the People’s Petition. “At first, he told me he had no power to do this and that such a decision had to be made by the local parish priest, that he could not interfere in such matters. Then later he said the church had no money.”
A recent investigation by The Irish Times showed the Catholic Church in Ireland has more than 3.7 billion Euro in assets in land and property, with more in Northern Ireland. Many properties and cash investments have not been made public yet. Over the last few years, most of the property and land have been placed in trusts. The Irish government entered an agreement that the Catholic church would pay 128 million euro towards child abuse compensation and the tax-payer would pay the remainder. The remainder, at last estimate, amounted to more than one 1.4 billion euro.
Martin Gallagher, one of the children sexually abused by Green in Gortahork and a signatory of the petition, said Brady is not morally fit to lead the Eucharistic Congress, “He should do the right thing and resign. If he doesn’t then he is ignoring the opinions of ordinary Christian people.” In national polls conducted by various media over the last few weeks most people consider Brady should resign his position.