A leading Bishop has admitted that a ‘cabal protecting clerical sex abusers’ may exist at the highest levels of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin also claimed the cabal may have friends working within the Vatican itself.
The Dublin cleric made the admission in the wake of the Vatican’s rebuttal of criticism from Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the wake of the Cloyne Report.
Dr Martin spoke as Irish police put the finishing touches to a new report which is set to rock the Church and State more than ever.
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The national audit of clerical sex abuse by the Irish police force’s sexual crime unit will reveal a huge volume of complaints against priests dating back 80 years.
As the fall-out from the damning report into clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese of Cloyne continues, Dr Martin spoke of his fears of a cover up within his Church.
“There may be a cabal in Cloyne,” admitted Dr Martin. “They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vatican.
“The numbers that are involved in this are few. The damage that these people cause is horrendous.
“It’s for all of us to see where they are, but in the long term I have to take the responsibility that in Dublin there are not cabals who reject our child protection laws.
“Everybody knows there are people who have challenged what I do, there are people who challenge what the Diocese does, people challenge what the national norms are. They exist.
“The way we get out of the cabals is by those of us who are convinced of what we are doing, being strong together.”
Dr Martin has also called on Irish PM Kenny to respond to the Vatican statement issued on Saturday and reveal full details of recent allegations made by the Prime Minister.
The Bishop added: “It does require explanation from somebody from the Government side.
“There was a reference to an attempt to undermine a State investigation three years ago. Now that’s a very specific allegation and I think the truth requires explanation.
“I’m not saying this again as a polemic. I deliberately limited my comment to three words - this requires explanation.
“The primary responsibility for monitoring child safeguarding measures in any dimension of Irish society, I repeat, belongs with the Irish State.”