Catholic cleric in sex abuse cover-up row

Dublin, March 15: Ireland’s most senior Catholic cleric has rejected calls to quit after being accused of trying to cover up allegations of child abuse by a notorious paedophile priest in the 1970s.

Cardinal Sean Brady faced demands to resign after it emerged he failed to notify authorities after attending meetings in 1975 where two alleged victims of Father Brendan Smyth signed an oath of secrecy.

Brady, then a priest and part-time secretary to the late Bishop of Kilmore Francis McKiernan, was present at the meetings at the direction of the bishop, according to a statement from the Catholic Church.

The church was investigating sex abuse complaints against Smyth whose activities led to the fall of prime minister Albert Reynolds’ coalition government in 1994.

Smyth, who is believed to have abused hundreds of children over a 40-year period, was finally jailed in the 1990s and died in prison.

Brady insisted yesterday his presence at the meetings was not a “resigning matter” and said he failed to contact the state authorities at the time as he was not the “designated person” to do so.

“I insist again I did act and acted effectively within that (1975) inquiry to produce the grounds for removing Father Smyth from ministry,” he told state broadcaster RTE.


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