Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Brady at abuse cover-up meetings

Cardinal Sean Brady
Cardinal Sean Brady is the Catholic primate of Ireland

The Irish Catholic primate, Cardinal Sean Brady, has said he was at meetings when two alleged victims of Fr Brendan Smyth signed an oath of silence.

The complaints of abuse by the two teenagers were investigated by Cardinal Brady in his capacity as secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore in 1975.

Cardinal Brady said he had been following his bishop's orders and there were no guidelines for dealing with such investigations at that time.

Fr Smyth was a notorious child abuser.

He is believed to have abused at least 20 children over a 40 year period and was convicted of more than 90 offences.

For a period, he was based in Kilnacrott Abbey, County Cavan, which is in the diocese of Kilmore, and was buried there when he died in 1997.

Delays in processing an extradition warrant for Fr Smyth from Northern Ireland in 1994 caused the collapse of the Fianna Fail/Labour coalition government in the Irish Republic.

A campaigner for victims of clerical child abuse in Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said Cardinal Brady should resign following the admission that he had represented the church at the meetings.

A statement from Cardinal Brady's office said he had believed the complaints he received and had provided the information he received to his then bishop, Dr Francis McKiernan.

"In 1975, Fr Sean Brady, as he then was, was the part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore, the late Bishop Francis McKiernan," the statement said.

"At the direction of Bishop McKiernan, Fr Brady attended two meetings: in the Dundalk meeting Fr Brady acted as recording secretary for the process involved and in the Ballyjamesduff meeting he asked the questions and recorded the answers given.

"At those meetings the complainants signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information gathering process. As instructed, and as a matter of urgency, Fr Brady passed both reports to Bishop McKiernan for his immediate action."

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