Irish cardinal pledges to co-operate fully with abuse enquiry

 In the wake of a television documentary raising serious questions about how the Irish church has handled clerical abuse, especially in Dublin, the Irish government has announced that it is setting up a state enquiry. Cardinal Connell, Archbishop of Dublin has pledged to co-operate fully with the investigation. Announcing the inquiry, the Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, said it was right for the government to act and that "no-one was above the law". He told the Irish parliament: "I am not afraid of the bang of a crozier from any direction. I am acting in the prudent interests of the state and most of all the victims. I will follow this where it goes, how high it goes or how low it goes." Prime Minister Bertie Ahern also intervened, telling parliament: "the law of the land applies to all - irrespective of what status they hold". He described child sex abuse as "abhorrent" adding: "This is doubly so when those who perpetrate it are abusing a position of trust, which is why revulsion at child sexual abuse runs so deep in the community." The Cardinal has expressed his regrets about not doing more to protect victims of clerical abuse. At a Mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral on Saturday evening, he said: "We failed them. I failed them and there are no excuses for this failure," Some people in the congregation heckled, saying, "It's too late". In a statement on Wednesday, Cardinal Connell said the Dublin diocese would "co-operate fully with any body of inquiry set up by an appropriate authority" to investigate the diocese's handling of clerical child sex abuse cases. But Dr Connell also argued that the Hussey Commission, set up by the Catholic Church in June and chaired by retired Judge Gillian Hussey, was "fully equipped" to carry out such an inquiry. To read the Cardinal's full statement see: http:www.statcardconnell.html

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