At last we have reached Ground Zero in the Irish church abuse scandals. The figure of John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin from 1940 to 1972, looms large.

How McQuaid handled the first ever allegations of child abuse against a priest named only as Father Edmondus in the report dictated how the Irish church subsequently dealt with the complaints.

McQuaid decided to not even send the priest on a retreat when the sex allegations were put to him.

The report notes that McQuaid's handling of the Edmondus matter was a "disaster" that "established a pattern of not holding abusers accountable" for decades to follow. It took four decades before Edmondus was finally jailed for his horrific acts of raping little girls in a children's hospital,

Yes that's right; raping little girls in a hospital. That's what McQuaid, a giant of the Irish church covered up.

That is hardly surprising. McQuaid was more than an archbishop, He essentially served as Eamon De Valera's right hand man and had total control over all church and state matters during his reign.

He dominated Irish life like no cleric since or before.When he made the decision to sweep the Edmondus allegations under the carpet the state and clergy followed his lead

The report shows that McQuaid even intimidated the Irish police who handed over complaints about Father Edmondus directly to him without every investigating them.

The report criticises former police Commissioner Daniel Costigan in the mid-1960s.

It showed he handed over details of a complaint against Father Edmondus directly to Archbishop McQuaid without carrying out an investigation.

As the report notes "members of the gardaí,(police) including the Commissioner in 1960, clearly regarded priests as being outside their remit,” the report stated.

“There are some examples of gardaí actually reporting complaints to the Archdiocese instead of investigating them. It is fortunate that some junior members of the Force did not take the same view.”

The new church abuse report which has horrified the Irish nation once again makes clear that evil lurked in McQuaid's heart as well as every other Archbishop of Dublin since then with the honorable exception of the current incumbent. The current Archbishop Dermot Martin has been outspoken on this issue from day one.

The Commission stated that four successive Archbishops, including the still living Cardinal Desmond Connell, refused to report abuse allegations throughout the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. It meant that nothing surfaced until the mid 1990s after RTE Television finally broke the stories.

McQuaid showed the way. The report notes his handling of the Fr Edmondus case was "aimed at the avoidance of scandal and showed no concern for the welfare of children",

Edmondus carried out dozens of sexual assaults on patients aged between eight and 11 years in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children. McQuaid was informed by police that Edmondus had taken sexually explicit photographs of two girls at the hospital. McQuaid gave the case to his auxiliary bishop, Bishop Dunne, who found that a crime had been committed under canon law.

Dr McQuaid later reversed this decision. "I felt that he (Edmondus) clearly understood the nature of the sinful act involved and to send him on retreat would defame him," recorded Dr McQuaid in written notes. Imagine that--he wouldn't even send Edmondus on retreat to think about his horrific deeds.

It took 36 years before Edmondus faced justice and even then it was a slap on the wrist. He pleaded guilty to indecent assault against Marie Collins, who attended the hospital, and another girl in Wicklow. He was sentenced to just 18 months in prison and released in May 1998.

BY their deeds shall we know them as the bible says. These men, especially McQuaid, have disgraced themselves and their church.

Archbishop John McQuaid (left) was more than an archbishop, He essentially served as Eamon De Valera's right hand man and had total control over all church and state matters during his reign.Google images