This analysis comes from a reader in Gortahork, where so many victims of paedophile priest Father Eugene Greene are from.
|Sir – The confirmation, if any were needed at this stage came by way of a Documentary on BBC 1 television, “This World”, on the 1/5/2021.The shame of the Catholic Church by Darragh McIntyre. He originally hailed from Dublin but decided that he and his family would like to live in an idyllic setting in the Donegal countryside. When the opportunity arose he bought a pub and moved lock, stock and barrel to within two miles from Gort an Choirce, An Bealtaine. Little did he realise that further along the road he would be making an explosive documentary that would lay bare the horror of what lay beneath the surface of this idyllic setting.|
The fore runner to the making of this film came by way of a man called Martin Ridge, who having served his time in An Garda Síochana retired to a nice, quiet part of countryside with outstanding views of both Muckish and Errigal Mountain. A similar distance from the Village of Gort an Choirce and in the same parish as Darragh did. Little did he realise that his retirement was going to be short lived. Through his investigative work prior to retiring, he was prompted to continue what he had started on. Lots of information relayed to him by people who felt he was their “only hope” left him bewildered. He was shocked by what he unearthed and consequently, went on to write a very revealing book, “Breaking the Silence”, based on the paedophilic activities of those who preyed on vulnerable children in a number of the surrounding parishes. He collaborated fully in the making of this unsettling documentary with Darragh.
As I’m from and grew up in the same area, you got to a certain age where you became aware of some of the dangers that lurked in the shadows. There were certain people that your mother would tell you to stay well away from, but would never explain why other than to say they were bad men? Priests or teachers were never part of that “bad men” list.
I suppose I can count myself among the lucky ones to have escaped the clutches of Eugene Greene during that time. Possibly because I refused point blank to become an alter boy to the disappointment of my grandmother.
After watching that documentary, it brought back memories of his whisky breath in the confessional box that instantly gave me the shivers. I remembered having listened in to older boys laughing or joking about Greene up the bog road with some young fellow in the car. I know for a fact that none of them despite their bravado realised what exactly was going on. That none of these young boys were going of their own free will to be manipulated and brutalised by a depraved evil animal masquerading as a man of god. What any community deserved and what it got when it came to the care of children was unimaginable in these circumstanses. If a paedophile appeared in the form of a smiling priest, parent, teacher or Guard it doesn’t matter, it’s their victims that suffer the consequences of that smiling face.
There have to be people who feel a certain amount of guilt and regret at not opening their eyes more to what went on. And on the other side there are people who deliberately turned a blind eye due to a culture of deference and silence that ignored the true nature of what was happening behind closed doors. When boys were able to be taken from the classroom by Greene with no more than a nod of the head, were teachers that blind to the obvious that they could not at least guess that there was an ulterior motive?
I know both Martin Gallagher and Paul Breslin, two of Greene’s victims who aired their justified grievances on the programme. I watched from a distance for years as Martin a good looking young man who would never have a problem attracting the ladies, drink himself into a comatose state. I always wondered why, now I know what the reason was, to drink to forget. I have seen down and outs in many countries and I now realise that they were more than likely doing the exact same thing, drinking alcohol like water trying to forget some horrific soul destroying event in their own lives. The extended families are victims as is the investigators and the perpetrators families, something that should not be forgotten.
As a fellow county man, parishioner and near neighbour of theirs, I will say it on behalf of everyone when saying that they can hold their heads high wherever they go, they have nothing to be ashamed of. They were the victims in every sense of the word and will be seen as an inspiration to anyone who suffers an illness, hurt or pain. It is very difficult in the present to remain aligned to a religion where many of its anointed servants have destroyed the lives of so many and covered up for some of those suspected or accused of wrong doing by moving them from parish to parish. The mistake that we cannot allow ourselves to make, is to view everyone who wears a priestly vestment as an abuser. Or make scapegoats in order to satisfy the insatiable needs of the tabloid press. There have been many men of the cloth who have lived the full term of their lives for the betterment of others, while we should be grateful for that; we cannot excuse in any way those who succumbed with relish to an evil ritual of daily child abuse. One man who left the priesthood in sheer frustration at getting no answers, (but who later died in a car accident in Germany having moved there), Fr Bruno Mulvill sent many letters to bishops including the papal nuncio Alibrandi in the late sixties regarding priest’s unhealthy behaviour in the company of children, but was stonewalled. The Rapho report because of its shortcomings has left a stain that says the Catholic Church has not finished accounting for its sins. Those within the church who hold commanding positions should be big and strong enough to say we fell short by a mile in safeguarding those children and parents who mistakenly thought there was safety within the confines of the church grounds. Bishop Diarmuid Martin has made a positive step in calling for an independent investigation into the Brendan Smith affair.
If there is a hell in the form that we were led to believe in? May Brendan Smyth, Eugene Greene and his fellow abusers be damned to burn without forgiveness for perpetuity? Because in this world they are being harboured, and cared for instead of being thrown to the wolves and left to fend for themselves.
Mise Le Meas J Woods