DUBLIN — A judge cleared the way yesterday for Ireland to publish a new report into decades of Catholic Church cover-ups of child abuse — and how a Cork bishop kept crimes in his diocese secret long after the Irish church issued orders to start telling police.
Dublin High Court Justice Nicholas Kearns ruled that only one chapter out of 27 in the upcoming Cork report required temporary censorship, because its subject is a priest about to face a criminal trial for rape and indecent assault. He said that chapter may be published as soon as July.
Ireland’s Justice Department, which sought the legal guidance, said it planned to publish the rest of the report sometime next week, covering the cases of 18 other child-molesting priests who evaded justice in the County Cork diocese of Cloyne.
The product of a two-year state-ordered investigation, the report will join a mountain of evidence showing how Catholic figures at the heart of Irish society abused their status to prey on children with impunity until recent years — particularly recent in the case of Cloyne.
Ireland already has produced mammoth reports into the nature and extent of child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004; the Ferns diocese in the southeast County Wexford from 1962 to 2002; and a nationwide network of workhouse-style residential schools and orphanages that the Catholic Church ran and taxpayers funded until the 1980s.
The three existing reports document how Catholic leaders knew for decades about pedophiles and sadists in their industrial schools and parishes — but kept their abuse files secret from police until the Irish public began demanding change and suing the church in the mid-1990s.