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September 2015 Archives

Pope Francis may visit Ireland in 2018



Pope Francis may visit Ireland in 2018 after announcing the world’s largest gathering of Catholic families is to be held in Dublin.



He made the announcement at the concluding mass of the World Meeting of Families which ended in Philadelphia on Sunday. It was the final stage of Pope Francis’ historic trip to the US.

Before the mass which was attended by one million people, the Pope greeted Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

The Catholic World Meeting of Families is staged every three years in a different location around the world and is usually attended by the pope.The announcement that the meeting will take place in Ireland was made at the conclusion of Pope Francis’s ten- day pastoral visit to Cuba and the US.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All-Ireland, said: “I am delighted to hear that Pope Francis has announced that the ninth World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, and that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is in Philadelphia with our delegation to hear the news directly from the Holy Father.

[timgcap=Eamon Martin]EamonMartinMonsignor_large.jpg[timgcap]

“Three years ago the 50th International Eucharistic Congress was a great celebration of faith for Ireland, and it attracted pilgrims from all around the world..”

If the Pope comes to Ireland, it will be the first papal visit here since Pope St John Paul II’s visit in 1979. It will not be his first visit, however, as he spent three months in Dublin in 1980 when, aged 43, he came to study at the Jesuit-run Milltown Institute in Ranelagh.

Catholic Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said he was delighted by the announcement and was confident the World Meeting of Families will be an “uplifting event for all of us”.

The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles John Brown, said it was his ‘fervent hope’ that the possibility of the pope visiting Ireland will be realised.

“Pope Francis is well aware that many people in Ireland would love for him to come and visit,” he said, echoing the view earlier yesterday of Archbishop Martin who said he felt the pope would like to come here.

“He learned some English in Ireland and he remembers being in Ireland,” said Archbishop Martin. “Any time he has spoken to me he is quite aware of what life is like in Ireland and the difficulties the Church has gone through here and hopes that a renewal of the Church in Ireland will come through a renewal of family life.”

If the Pope does decide to come, it is likely that he will include Northern Ireland in his itinerary. The archbishop added that Pope Francis was well aware of the tribulations of the Catholic Church in Ireland in recent times. “He is aware of the damage done by the child sexual abuse scandal,” he said, speaking on RTÉ radio.

“He has said that to me on occasion. He is aware that Irish society is changing. He has talked about the social ethics of family is changing very much in western society in general and he would be aware of what is happening in Ireland.”

The announcement that Dublin is to host the gathering of families comes in advance of the start of the world synod of Bishops which takes place in Rome from October 5 to 26 – themed, “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”.

A final decision on whether the Pope will travel to Ireland is expected to emerge at the synod.


Idea for World Meeting of Families originated with John Paul II


Pope St John Paul II


The World Meeting of Families was first held in Rome in 1994, the International Year of the Family.

Sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the gathering takes place every three years and is the Catholic Church’s largest international gathering of families.

The idea originated with Pope St John Paul II in 1992 as a way of strengthening the bonds of the traditional family unit.

This year’s event took place in Philadelphia, US, last weekend, while the 2018 event will be held in Dublin.

Each World Meeting of Families has a theme that “energises and enlivens the event while seeking to add depth of meaning to our understanding of families”.

At the conference, families come together from all over the world to share their thoughts, experiences and prayers and attend social gatherings, lectures and talks by speakers.

Each meeting has a theme designed to strengthen family bonds. Philadelphia was the eighth conference and its theme was ‘Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive’. The World Meeting of Families was held in Philadelphia last week and was the original reason that Pope Francis decided to come to the United States.

The pope capped a 10-day trip to Cuba and the US by celebrating mass in front of hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia on Sunday.

Previous meetings were held in Rome in 1994, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1997, Rome in 2000, Manila, the Philippines in 2003, Valencia, Spain, in 2006, Mexico City, in 2009 and Milan in 2012.


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Industrial School Survivor story

Industrial school survivor slapped, kicked and 'forced to sleep with pigs for snoring'




22/09/2015 | 17:17

Members of the Collins Family & relatives of Angela Collins who spent 27 years in a Magdalene Laundry (L to R) Laura with her daughter Angel (3), Craig & there mother Mary all living in London protesting for the forgotten families of the victims of Institutional abuse in Magdalene laundries, Industrial Schools and Mother and Baby homes outside Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins1
Members of the Collins Family & relatives of Angela Collins who spent 27 years in a Magdalene Laundry (L to R) Laura with her daughter Angel (3), Craig & there mother Mary all living in London protesting for the forgotten families of the victims of Institutional abuse in Magdalene laundries, Industrial Schools and Mother and Baby homes outside Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

A survivor of one of Ireland's industrial schools has claimed she was slapped, kicked, and "forced to sleep outside at night with pigs" if she snored too loudly.


Mary Collins also said her mother, Angela, was among those buried in a mass grave with 72 other women.

Her mother had been forced to spend 27 years in a Magdalene laundry.

Speaking outside the Dáil yesterday, the 54-year-old claimed that at St Vincent’s home in Cork, her mother was forced to give up her youngest child for what was an illegal adoption.

She also alleged her mother was denied vital medical treatment - and this eventually led to her death.

Mary, who now lives in London, said was just two when Angela was taken away and she was placed in an industrial school.

She insisted records at the time stated Angela was "a good mother".

Yet both her daughters were taken away from her.

Mary joined a number of  groups representing survivors of the Magdalene laundries, as well as industrial schools, who protested outside the Dáil today.

They delivered a letter to Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, calling for justice for the "forgotten families of the victims of institutional abuse."

They are demanding the government fast track the redress scheme for aging survivors.

They also want free legal aid for those taking a case to the Mother & Baby Homes Commission.

Speaking to, Mary said her family is calling for the government, and the church, to support and fund those who wish to remove the remains of their loved ones from mass graves, so as to give them a proper burial.

She explained how she suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her horrific experiences in an industrial school.

"From a very young age, they used to tell me I was dirty and a vile human being,” she said.

"I had urine thrown over my head and I was slapped in the face.

“I snored as a child and for that reason a nun used put me outside to sleep with the pigs. I begged her to stop but she never listened.

“I was just seven years old.

"My life was miserable, and whenever a nun stared at me, it was with a look of pure evil.

"One nun bashed my face off the table which knocked out my front tooth.

"It was constant abuse, both mentally and physically. I was battered. It’s left many scars.”

A commission of investigation has been established to investigate 14 mother and baby homes nationwide and some county homes.

However, chairperson of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors, Paul Redmond, has now called on the Government to stop dragging its heels on the matter.

He also said it should include survivors of all institutions across the country.

“We demand this Government takes immediate action on several issues, such as including all survivors in the Mother and Baby home Inquiry, while recognising the ageing profile of the survivor community.”

He added: “We want an immediate acknowledgement, apology,  and redress, while there is still time.

“We are particularly disturbed as a community,  with the exclusion of the victims of illegal adoptions,  and the exclusion of so many Protestant homes.”





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Cemetery also used for children who died in Institutions

Couple finds baby’s cemetery plot sold for adult graves

‘No records kept’ of children buried in ‘Innocents Plot’ in Limerick’s Mount Saint Lawrence cemetery

Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 10:18


Limerick couple who lost their premature baby son have discovered the plot he was buried in was later sold for adult burials.

No record was kept of the children buried there.

Phil and Paul Walsh lost baby William when he was delivered close to six months into Phil’s pregnancy in December 1971.

Mr Walsh brought his son to the city’s Mount Saint Lawrence cemetery in a small white box provided by the maternity hospital, and a gravedigger interred the baby in a part of the cemetery known as The Innocents’ Plot”.

“I visited the plot a few times after that, but then life moved on. A couple of years ago, I went up again, and I couldn’t believe what I saw – there were adult graves where the Innocents Plot used to be,” Mrs Walsh told the Limerick Post.

“The last time I was there, the gravedigger had put a crucifix on the wall to mark the plot, but that was gone. There was no sign that any of the babies had ever been buried there.”

Mr Walsh asked a gravedigger what had happened. “He said the plots had been sold for graves, that they needed the money. I asked him where were the babies who were buried there and what he said was terrible. He said ‘they dug them down deep’. I couldn’t believe it”.

Although initially shocked, Mrs Walsh said she had moved to anger and frustration. “It’s been playing on my mind all this time, not just for us but for who knows how many parents who buried children there. How could this happen?”

The cemetery was owned by the Catholic Church and managed by a committee of five trustees, made up of priests of the parishes that used the graveyard. It passed into the ownership of the City Council in 1979.

Following queries to the diocese, Bishop Brendan Leahy called in a retired senior Garda to investigate the issue. He met the Walshes, but Mrs Walsh said they are not happy with the outcome so far.

“He told us there were no records kept at the time and the church’s thinking back then about unbaptised babies was different. That they were in limbo. This is terrible for parents who have children buried there”.

In a statement published in the Limerick Post, the Diocese of Limerick said it would erect a memorial at the plot to honour the memory of infants buried there.

This follows a review of infant burials at the cemetery after the diocese was notified of the Walshes’ experience.

“The matter was brought to the attention of the diocese in late April by the couple, and the review, which was carried out for the diocese by retired Garda chief superintendentGerry Mahon, was started immediately,” the statement said.

Bishop Brendan Leahy said: “While we have not been able to get all the detail we would have wished due to the inadequacy of records, the process has, at least, brought to our attention the burial in consecrated grounds of these infants.

“Arising from this we would like to commemorate these children by placing a memorial in the area where these burials are known to have taken place,” he said.

“ We have been in touch with Limerick City and County Council to that end and will meet with them shortly to explore options for this tribute.”

Anyone affected by this matter can contact a support line at 083 3979167.

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Only EIGHT Convictions - Cause for concern

325 allegations, eight convictions against religious Orders

Wednesday 09 September 2015 15.02

Audit was carried out by the Catholic Church's child protection watchdog
Audit was carried out by the Catholic Church's child protection watchdog

The latest reports by the Catholic Church's child protection watchdog, focusing on 43 religious congregations, reveal that 325 allegations were made against 141 priests or brothers in Ireland since 1941, resulting in eight criminal convictions.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) audit of eight male religious orders and 35 smaller orders of nuns indicates that the Jesuit Orderfailed to tell the gardaí about at least 22 allegations of child sexual abuse made against its members in the past 40 years.

But NBSCCC CEO Teresa Devlin has said the Order had confirmed with gardaÍ that the cases concerned did not meet the threshold for reporting.

A Jesuit spokesperson said these cases were suspicions and concerns for which there were no reasonable grounds and that the board states that every allegation requiring reporting has been reported.

However, Ms Devlin said there were delays of up to four years in reporting substantial allegations to the gardaí in the early 1990s.

As well as Pope Francis' order, the Jesuits, this tranche of audits by the NBSCCC covers in depth the Camillians, Capuchins, Carmelites, Cistercians, Sacred Heart Fathers, Slalesians and Rosminians.

The finding that only eight criminal convictions have been obtained following 325 allegations highlights what Ms Devlin called the undeniable fact that once again, a significant number of children were abused in the care of religious.

Also criticised is the Rosminian Order for its significant delays in making written reports of allegations to the civil authorities before 2009.

Both the Jesuits and Rosminians have welcomed the reports and apologised to victims abused in their care.

The board says that, overall, the reports show a considerable improvement in safeguarding practice in all eight male orders.

The Jesuit Order said in a statement: "We are ever conscious of the terrible damage inflicted on people who are victims of abuse, and we recognise the importance of ongoing review of our child protection procedures, and of the handling of allegations.

"We wish to unreservedly apologise to any person who has been abused under our care. It is a cause of great sadness to us that anybody was ever abused by a Jesuit."  

The Order also said the process had already begun to fully implement all the recommendations contained in the NBSCCCI report.

The Rosminians said it was committed to working with former residents as best it could in the continuing healing process.


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Row with Bishop over defrocked priest

Cloyne child protection officer quits in bishop row


The first lay person to assume the position of child protection officer in the Catholic diocese of Cloyne has resigned in a dispute over the handling by Bishop William Crean of the case of defrocked priest Dan Duane.


Bill Meagher: Was designated liaison person for diocese.


Bill Meagher, a former HSE social worker who was appointed the designated liaison person for the diocese in 2011, quit his post yesterday after Bishop Crean sought clarification from the Vatican over the position of the former 75-year-old Mallow priest who has continued to celebrate Mass in defiance of the Church ruling.Mr Duane, who was laicised after being found to have sexually abused minors, had appealed directly to Pope Francis and the Church’s Supreme Court, the Apostolic Signatura, the decision of the Canonical Court in Ireland to dismiss him from the priesthood.

He lost that appeal in January and made a further appeal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a department of the Roman Curia formerly known as the Inquisition.

In a statement last night, Bishop Crean said when he learned of the second appeal by Mr Duane he believed that he could take no further action against him until after he had received clarification from the CDF. “This led to Mr Meagher resigning as he did not agree with my position,” said Bishop Crean.

As part of his work, Mr Meagher and his deputy, Fr Patrick Winkle who will now assume the role for 18 months, met Mr Duane in June and was told that he was celebrating Mass privately at his home. He defended his action on the basis of the second appeal.

The bishop added: “I then sought further advice on the matter which confirmed my conviction that no further appeal was possible. I then wrote to the former priest to reiterate that, as he is dismissed from the priesthood, he cannot act as a priest in any manner whatsoever.”

One of Dan Duane’s victims said last night: “A good man has gone down as he could not work with the bishop’s interpretation.”

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Action at last - after many years of questioning

The Charity Commission has agreed to investigate the financial mismanagement
of 250,000 euro's through Voluntary Action Camden.

I am the named complainant and have no difficulty with my details being
submitted to VAC but I suggested to the Charity Commission that many
survivors are very fearful of repercussions of making complaints against the
VAC and IWSSN fearing a backlash, being excluded and perhaps affecting their
caranua application. 

In light of this I suggested that anonymous complaints can be made. The
Minster for Justice has now also requested details of complaints and I
suggested again they should be anonymous. If you or anyone would like to
make a complaint if they could send me the information within the next 14

The complaint should be in the following format:

Institution - Period 

Nature of Complaint against VAC and IWSSN 

Name of person/group against whom complaint made 

Any other information 

I will now be in Ireland for a few days but will call a meeting to discuss
what is happening on my return 

Please pass this information to anyone you are aware of who has made a
complaint previously and this complaint was not acted upon or who has made
you aware that they would like to make a complaint 

Kind regards

Eileen McMahon 
McMahon Solicitors Limited
Basepoint Business Centres
272 Field End Road
SRA: 618248

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Attack on retired Bishop Murphy

Gardaí probe attack on retired bishop


The retired bishop of Kerry was punched in the face on a train by a man believed to have been angered by the diocese’s response to child sexual abuse.


Dr Bill Murphy: The retired bishop of Kerry was punched in the face by a man angered at the diocese's response to child abuse.


Gardaí in Killarney are investigating the attack.

Bishop Murray was said to have been very shaken by the assault, and a passenger in the same carriage came to his assistance

The man, in his 30s, is alleged to have approached Bishop Murphy in a carriage after the train had left Mallow Station on the morning of August 6 and punched him in the face.

A male passenger sitting in the same carriage intervened and asked the man to leave the bishop alone.

It was reported in the Kerry’s Eye newspaper that the man had been drinking during the journey.

After the exchange, the alleged attacker was escorted from the carriage by two Iarnród Éireann staff.

Gardaí were waiting on the platform in Heuston Station, but it is unclear whether the man was arrested.

Bishop Murphy had been travelling with his brother, Archdeacon Michael Murphy.

The retired bishop is believed to have been very upset after the incident, which occurred on the 7.30am Killarney-Dublin train on August 6

“This unfortunate incident happened over a month ago and it has been reported to the gardaí,” a spokesperson for the Kerry Diocese said this week.

“The incident has also been brought to the Designated Liaison Person for Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Kerry.”

In an interview at the time of his retirement in July, 2013, Bishop Murphy described the child sex abuse scandal in the country as the most difficult time during his 18-year tenure as bishop of Kerry.

Three years earlier, he responded to the release of Judge Yvonne Murphy’s report into abuse by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, saying he was deeply saddened and shamed by the content.

“I want to offer my sincere sympathy and regret to those who have experienced child sexual abuse, even though I realise I can never fully understand the depth of their suffering and pain,” he said.

“The report documents evil and criminal activity and highlights a dreadful failure to respond to it appropriately.

“I renew my appeal to all who were sexually abused by clergy to come forward if they have not already done so. I assure them that they will be treated with respect and dignity.”


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