The Bishop of Galway, Dr. Martin Drennan, is standing firm against efforts to have him resign in the wake of the Dublin child abuse scandal, thereby creating a further crisis in the Irish church. Four bishops who served in the Dublin archdiocese during the period of the sex abuse have already stepped down, but Drennan, who is the fifth named in the recent Murphy report, has been adamant he will not step aside.
There was further confirmation of his stance over the weekend. He “does not intend to resign,” according to his diocesan communications manager Fr. Seán McHugh.
Drennan is “strong in his belief that he did nothing wrong,” McHugh was quoted in The Irish Times as saying. "Dr. Drennan’s case was different to that of the other four bishops mentioned in the report, in that he wasn’t asked to appear before Judge Murphy’s commission,” McHugh said.
“It is highly significant that Judge Murphy wrote to him at the outset of the commission’s work, but she never asked to speak to him after that when, by then, she would have had access to all the files in Dublin relating to allegations of child sexual abuse,” McHugh stated.
“Dr Drennan wasn’t called to give evidence, nor was he sent a draft of any section of the report as happened in the case of the other bishops,” McHugh said. “In the one case which he was involved in, the Murphy report praises the way the Dublin diocese responded.”
Drennan was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin during the years 1997 to 2005. He is mentioned in the report in connection with his response to a Fr Guido, which involved abuse of male teenagers in 2002 and 2003.
Last week Drennan was adamant he had done nothing wrong and he was openly critical of Dublin Archbishop Dr. Diarmid Martin, who has been to the forefront of the efforts to get the bishops to step aside. "I feel we have been through a spiral of revenge. I understand that people are angry... but taking the route of revenge is not going to bring any closure,” he said, stating that he had received “huge” support in Galway.
Meanwhile Fr Tony Flannery of the Redemptorist order in Athenry, Co Galway, has strongly criticised Archbishop Martin for the manner in which he has handled the resignations.
“These bishops are not recalcitrant teenagers; they are intelligent and mature men, so it was pathetic of Diarmuid Martin to use the media to communicate with them,” Fr Flannery said in The Connacht Tribune.
“It showed scant respect,” Flannery has said. “Bishop Drennan was correct when he said that his integrity was questioned.”