Irish bishop resigns over child abuse scandal

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St John's Cathedral, Limerick
Image: Zoney.

The Irish Roman Catholic bishop Donal Murray has resigned, following a strongly critical report on his handling of child sex abuse cases. It was announced today he would be leaving the position of Bishop of Limerick, and that the Pope had accepted his resignation.

The report into allegations against priests in the Dublin Archdiocese decribed Murray's conduct in one case as "inexcusable". Father Thomas Naughton was sentenced to three years jail in 1998 for abuse, and yesterday was jailed once again for further abuse between 1982 and 1984. Judge Michael O'Shea described the abuse as "appalling, shocking and horrifying", and said it had an "absolutely catastrophic" impact on the victim, a six year old altar boy.

Murray had failed to investigate allegations about Naughton, when he was Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin. Eight other priests from the Dublin Archdiocese have also been convicted of child sex abuse, and four more face charges.

Speaking at St John's Cathedral, Limerick, the bishop confirmed his resignation and apologised to the priests' victims.

"I know full well, that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day. I humbly apologise once again to all who were abused as little children. To all survivors of abuse I repeat, that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can, on their journey towards finding closure and serenity."