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Catholics detail Irish sex abuses


Robert Pigott

BBC News, Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has revealed figures showing the extent to which priests in its largest archdiocese may have abused children.

Nearly 150 priests and members of other religious orders have been accused or suspected of abuse since 1940.

Details of the allegations, including against 74 of the diocese's priests, were given by the Dublin archdiocese.

They come shortly before it begins a closed inquiry into how the abuse was managed.

Although the sexual abuse of children in the much larger US Catholic Church has commanded more attention, Ireland is perhaps even more deeply scarred by priestly abuse, the extent of which is only now slowly emerging.

As well as specific allegations or suspicions about 84 priests, the Dublin archdiocese says accusations have been made against another 61 who worked there in recent decades.

Some 400 victims of abuse have already been identified.

Among the likely questions facing the archdiocese's investigation will be whether priests were moved from parish to parish to disguise their abuse, as occurred in the Church elsewhere in the world.

The most notorious abuse has occurred in children's homes and orphanages run by priests and nuns.

Fifteen-thousand people have applied for compensation for abuse suffered in them.

Irish taxpayers are eventually expected to pay compensation approaching $1bn (£0.5bn; 0.76bn euros).


2007 May 2