30/11/2009

Bishop Claims Abuse Reports 'Misread'

The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, has responded to calls for the resignation of a Bishop implicated in the Walsh report, by saying his critics had "misread" the document.

The report into clerical child abuse in the Archdiocise of Dublin named a number of Bishops, accusing them of failing to properly investigate claims of child sexual abuse by priests.

Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick has come under intense pressure to resign after the inquiry found his failure to investigate a paedophile priest was "inexcusable".

However Bishop Walsh has refused to back the calls, saying instead that the pressure for Bishop Murray's resignation was based on a "misreading" of the Murphy report.

Speaking on RTÉ' Morning Ireland Radio Programme, Bishop Walsh said: "I do know that there has been gross misreading of the Dublin report in relation to Bishop Murray. There has been very serious misreading of that."

"I'm quite uncomfortable with this kind of public trial. I'd have to ask: is it about healing of survivors or is it about some sort of desire that we need to get a head on a plate?"

Giving mass in Limerick yesterday, Bishop Murray told parishioners he would "be guided by the priests and people of the diocese" on whether he should resign.

"There have as you know been calls for me to resign. As far as I am concerned the question of whether I should resign is a question of whether my presence here is a help or a hindrance to the diocese of Limerick," he said.

Some Government Ministers have stopped short of overtly urging the Bishops named in the report to resign, with Defence Willie O'Dea saying of Bishop Murray that "he will make the appropriate decision".

Asked if he believed Bishop Murray should resign, Mr O’Dea said: "I know Donal Murray personally and I have always had a very good relationship with him, and I find him a decent man. I must say that I am bitterly disappointed to read what I have read in the Murphy report."

Taoiseach Brian Cowen refused to be drawn into the controversy and said it was for institutions and their members to determine the appropriateness of any individual to hold ecclesiastical office.

(DW/BMcc)

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