Ireland’s Deputy Leader Eamon Gilmore has called on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign after sensational new revelations about his role in covering up the actions of notorious pedophile Father Brendan Smyth.
The allegations were made in a BBC documentary this week that Brady had covered up his own role in investigating Smyth, a notorious pedophile, and his victims. Brady had claimed he was merely a note taker back in 1987 during an internal church inquiry but the BBC report claimed he was an active participant.
"It is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority," Gilmore told the Irish parliament.
Gilmore, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, called it "another horrific episode of failure by senior members of the Catholic Church to protect children."
"As far as your question about the Government's position in relation to Cardinal Brady is concerned, let me say this, I have always believed in the separation of church and state,” Gilmore said when asked about it by an opposition member in the parliament.
“I think it is the job of government and of the State to enact out laws and to ensure that those laws apply to everybody, whether they belong to a church or not.
"But it is my own personal view that anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case should not hold a position of authority."
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the pedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth abused 30 or more children in the years after Ireland’s church leader Cardinal Sean Brady failed to report his crimes according to a top police officer.
A former RUC detective who worked on the Smyth case has told the Irish Independent that over 30 children were abused after a Church investigation in 1975 was told of his crimes.
Cardinal Brady is now under intense pressure to quit as more details emerge of his part in the cover-up after a victim handed the 1975 investigation the names of five other children abused by Smyth.
The report states that Cardinal Brady, who is refusing to quit, has admitted that there was nothing to stop him going to civil authorities about accusations against the serial paedophile.
Brady was one of three clerics who investigated the abuse claims against Smyth although he says he was only a ‘note-taker’ at the meetings.
A BBC documentary on the case, broadcast in Ireland on Tuesday and across Britain on Wednesday, has led to calls on Cardinal Brady to resign.
A police detective involved in subsequent investigations into Smyth’s evil reign of terror told the Irish Independent that Brady could have taken action when the allegations first surfaced in 1975.
“It is my view that there were up to 30 victims of Brendan Smyth between 1975 and his arrest in 1991 - and to be honest there could be dozens more that we never ever found out about,” said the detective.
“Predatory paedophiles like Smyth just don’t suddenly stop. I have no doubt these victims and God knows how many others would have been saved from the most horrific attacks had Smyth been stopped earlier. The failure of the Catholic Church to deal with this in 1975 is really unforgivable.”
Asked by the paper what he thought the then Father Brady should have done, he said: “There was a culture of keeping this in the church back then. But had he called in the police Smyth could have been stopped. He should have told the parents.
“That’s my view but it’s not for me to say whether he should resign or not.”
Cardinal Brady remains adamant however that he won’t resign. He said he had considered his position in the past but had decided to stay on.
In a statement, the cardinal said: “The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975.
“I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my bishop had limited authority over him.
The only people who had authority within the church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his abbot in the monastery in Kilnacrott and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order.
“I was shocked and appalled when I learned of Smyth’s new victims in the 1990s. I felt betrayed by the Norbertine Order and my religious superiors.”
The Vatican’s chief investigator Monsignor Charles J Scicluna and Armagh Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Clifford have stated their support for Cardinal Brady and denied there is any need for him to resign as Primate of All-Ireland.
Abuse campaigner Christine Buckley had rejected Cardinal Brady’s defence and called on him to go.
“Many young children at a tender age told the authorities about this behaviour and yet a man of 36 did nothing,” she said.
Watch the Irish Times report on Cardinal Seán Brady’s response below: