Former Archbishop of Cloyne John Magee has been challenged to come forward and meet the victims of the clerical abuse scandal he is accused of covering up.
Outrage has greeted Magee’s statement to the Sunday Independent newspaper at the weekend when he confirmed he will not yet respond publicly to the Cloyne Report.
The Bishop denied fleeing to America when he was found at a parish house in Mitchelstown, Cork, provided for him by the Catholic Church.
Now victims of the priests under his control have demanded a public meeting with Dr Magee and a response to the criticism in the Cloyne Report of his time in office and his failure to deal with sexual abuse allegations against his priests.
One victim told the Irish Times: “I think all of us would like him to meet us publicly and apologize for the manner in which he handled our complaints.
“The Cloyne report was damning of him, and all he’s done is issued a statement of apology through a public relations company.
“If he has any respect for us at all he should meet us, but I don’t expect him to do that because he has shown nothing but contempt for us.
“He’s a coward, and all he’s concerned with is looking after himself, but he has a duty, a duty to meet us.”
The Cloyne Report alleged that up to two thirds of all abuse allegations in the diocese were not reported to the civil authorities.
It also accused Bishop Magee of falsely telling health board executives that allegations of abuse had been forwarded to police.
Another victim, who co-operated with the Commission behind the Cloyne Report, demanded that Dr Magee face the anger of those he had betrayed.
“Bishop Magee should come forward now and hold a press conference and answer the criticisms,” she told the paper.
“The Archbishop of Cashel Dermot Clifford said it would be helpful if he was present to answer questions. At least Clifford showed us respect by holding a press conference.
“I see where Bishop Magee’s brother in Mitchelstown now has called for people to respect him but who has respect for us, has Magee shown any respect for us?
“We’re entitled to feel as angry as Our Lord was in the temple with the Pharisees.”