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Ireland braces for new 'horrifying' child abuse report

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Ireland was today bracing for a new "shocking and horrifying" report into clerical child abuse.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin - who is trying to reform the Irish church - said the report would name up to 15 priests who abused at least 450 children over a 35-year period in Dublin.

In addition, the report will also reveal - in detail - how Irish church authorities responded to the original allegations.

Archbishop Martin said the report from the Dublin Diocese Commission will "shock and horrify" the whole of Ireland.

Eleven of the 15 priests have already been convicted while the other four are said to be well-known, with three of those men already before the courts.

The report was set up in March 2006 to examine the allegations of child sex abuse against 46 priests in a massive file dating back to 1940.

The report also examined how the church handled the priests who served under a succession of Archbishops from John Charles McQuaid to Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Last year, Cardinal Connell attempted to prevent Archbishop Martin from handing over what he called "privileged documents" to the Commission. Connell later withdrew his challenge.

The report is damning about a "power culture" among 19 bishops who were accused of not taking the allegations seriously. The 19 bishops include four archbishops of Dublin; Most Rev John Charles McQuaid, Most Rev Dermot Ryan, Most Rev Kevin McNamara and Cardinal Desmond Connell.

The other  bishops include Bishop Joseph Carroll (deceased), Bishop Brendan Comiskey (resigned as Bishop of Ferns in 2002), Bishop Martin Drennan (Bishop of Galway), Bishop Patrick Dunne (deceased), Bishop Ray Field (auxiliary Bishop in Dublin) and Bishop Laurence Forristal (Bishop of Ossory to 2007), Bishop James Kavanagh (deceased), Bishop Jim Moriarty (Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin), Bishop Donal Murray (Bishop of Limerick), Bishop Dermot O'Mahony (retired), Bishop Fiachra Ni Ceallaigh (auxiliary bishop in Dublin), Bishop Eamonn Walsh (auxiliary bishop in Dublin and apostolic administrator to Ferns from April 2002 to April 2006) and Bishop Desmond Williams (deceased).

Ireland's Justice Minister Dermot Ahern is expected to hand over the report to the Irish attorney general Paul Gallagher for legal advice.

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