A brother of the disgraced former Archbishop of Cloyne has claimed that Dr John Magee is an easy target for blame after the damning report into clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese.
The Irish Independent carries a lengthy interview with the Bishop’s brother in Monday’s edition.
The elderly man, who refused to give his name to the paper, is the caretaker of the parochial house in the North Cork town of Mitchelstown where Bishop Magee lived until the publication of the Cloyne Report.
The report singled out Bishop Magee for failing to follow Church rules on reporting clerical sex abuse. The Bishop is believed to be staying with relatives in America as the controversy surrounding the reports grows in Ireland with the Vatican’s decision to recall the Papal Nuncio to Rome.
“He’s not here at the moment but if he was I’m sure he would talk to you, but the man simply is not here at the moment,” Bishop Magee’s brother told the Irish Independent.
“I’m not really sure if he’s in the country or out of the country at the moment. I’m just the caretaker here and I couldn’t tell you where he is.’’
The elder Magee brother did claim that the former Archbishop is being treated unfairly in the fall-out from the Cloyne Report.
“On the day that this thing came out it was ‘bang’, immediately the man to blame for all this here was him,” added the man.
“From the very first day the way that I look at this here was that he was a good target. Because he was a person with the kind of high profile that he had, because of his closeness to the Popes, he was an easy target.”
The man did confirm contact with his brother. He said: “He rings me now and again, but he rings me from a mobile phone, I couldn’t tell you where he does be.
“He sounds very good. I say to him, ‘How are ye boy?’ And he says, ‘I’m grand’. He seems to be okay from what I can tell.
“I can’t tell very much. You could if you worked for the ‘News of the World’ I suppose.
“If you just stand back and give the fella a bit of time. If you were in the position he was in, from what I’m reading in the newspapers, you wouldn’t like it either.”
Bishop Magee isn’t the only one suffering with all the attention in the wake of the Cloyne Report according to his brother.
“It is hard on the family but I’m not ashamed to say I’m his older brother. We have had quite an amount of support and I haven’t had anybody locally criticise him. There could be people out there but they don’t come to me,” stated the man.