How Ireland has failed to learn lessons from Famine


However, whatever the outcome of the public’s outburst of indignation over Ryan I’m afraid that I have to say there is probably worse to come. Of my knowledge, as they say, I am aware that a report into deviance amongst the clergy of the Dublin Archdiocese is nearing publication.

As an indication of its contents it may be told that when he received it, the reforming Archbishop Dermot Martin was so shocked by its contents, some of which had led to his being appointed in place of Cardinal Desmond Connell, that he called the priests of the Archdiocese together and told them that after reading it he felt like climbing into a bottle of whiskey. He warned his clergy that there must be no attempt at cover-ups, no defences, just sincere expressions of apology and of sorrow.

Archbishop Dermot is a man of Dublin, not of denial. Would that there were more like him in Ireland in the ranks of both Christ and Caesar. In subsequent columns I hope to show how the famine affected Irish psychology and how the power of the church, which the famine did so much to buttress, over reached itself to arrive at its present situation in Ireland

Tim Pat Coogan’s Web site is