As a new generation of parents in the Diocese of Raphoe comes terms with the sexual trauma of minors highlighted in last week’s TG4 documentary, Martin Ridge, the Garda at the centre of uncovering the scandals has said Bishop McGuckian’s statement has caused more confusion than clarity.
At the same time Martin Gallagher, a survivor of clerical abuse says he will accept any invitation to meet the bishop: however that meeting must include a senior Garda officer and all four participants in the TG4 ‘Finné’ documentary.
Despite headlines on social media that a meeting had been arranged, Mr. Gallagher confirmed to the Tirconaill Tribune on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of this and no progress whatever been made on the issue.
Gallagher said that while welcoming the Bishop’s statement he questions why it took a documentary for him to go to the gardaí and to say that any information that the Diocese of Raphoe holds in relation to the abuse of children is completely available to the gardaí.
Mr. Gallagher said: “We already learned from the audit of the Diocese in 2011 that not one shred of evidence was discovered, despite the human misery heaped on young boys by two leading figures in our parish.
“We never had any doubt these cases were covered up and we had three bishops in forty years who did nothing to help the victims. The Church is in denial and has failed again to come to terms with the hurt of the abused and the legacy of suicide in our Diocese.”
Martin Gallagher continued: “The last thing we want now is another statement from the Bishop. We need action because it is now more urgent than ever. Many of those involved are elderly and it is vital that we see the Bishop take appropriate to address the harm done. And it is his responsibility and not ours to offer a solution that will end our misery.”
“I want to remind the Bishop that Fr. Greene raped me when I was a child of twelve and it continued for a whole year. But if the church had dealt with him, I would not have been abused and the same applies to many others. I can never forgive Fr. Greene for his behaviour. What he did could not have gone without notice by his superiors and it is my view that is why he was moved from parish to parish… to continue his evil deeds, it was like a virus,” he added.
In the aftermath of the Bishop’s response, the Tribune addressed correspondence seeking clarification on a number of issues raised on behalf of victims last Friday afternoon.
The paper sought to clarify if any response is being proposed in relation to clergy referenced in the documentary and in relation to the former schoolteacher, Denis McGinely whom the programme identified as being forewarned ahead of a Garda search of his home.
They raised a query in relation to the circumstances that obtained when Fr. Eugene Greene was restored to diocesan duties prior to the appointment of Bishop Philip Boyce.
Martin Ridge Responds
Reacting to the Bishop’s statement, Martin Ridge told the Tribune: “Bishop McGuckian seems to suggest that in the ‘Finné’ documentary that there was coverup with regard to child sexual abuse in the diocese and allegations of sorts that was not already known before.
“There is nothing new in the documentary that was not already highlighted in ‘Sins of Omission’ in 2002 in ‘Shame of the Catholic Church’ in 2012 and in the book, ‘Breaking the Silence’ by Martin Ridge.
“What’s not clear is what the Catholic Hierarchy knew about Eugene Greene’s activity with regards to abusing children. ”
Ridge said: “Clarity in writing of what the Bishops knew would be important as they can’t wash their hands off this. The real story of what happened in Raphoe to hundreds and hundreds of victims will, in my opinion, only come out when there is a full garda investigation or judicial inquiry.”