Cardinal Meets Abuse Victims
By Frank Shouldice, Contributor
February / March 2003
Desmond Connell, Archbishop of Dublin, met with victims of clerical sexual abuse in an attempt to defuse widespread anger with the Church’s handling of abuse cases.
Two victims, Marie Collins and Ken Reilly, had said they would organize a protest march to the archbishop’s residence and demand that he stand down. In response, Cardinal Connell invited them to discuss the situation and offered them a role in setting up the new Child Protection Service which is being established by the diocese to prevent known abusers gaining access to children within the Church.
In a significant turnaround the Cardinal also confirmed that the diocese was “cooperating fully” with police investigations into cases of child sexual abuse and that diocesan files on offending priests would be handed over to the gardai.
Following a five-hour meeting with the victims, the planned protest march was cancelled. “The Cardinal explained his position and what the diocese was doing,” said Ken Reilly afterwards. “He had also asked for our help. Today was the start of a process and we are looking to the future.” ♦