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 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 16:13 GMT
Archbishop's apology to abuse victim
Archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell
Cardinal Connell came under pressure to resign
The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has apologised to a victim of child sex abuse by a priest.

The Irish High Court awarded Mervyn Rundle, 28, compensation worth over 200,000.

This is the largest settlement ever given to a victim of clerical sex abuse.

Cardinal Desmond Connell's handling of this and other cases has led to repeated calls for him to step down as archbishop.

Mr Rundle was a nine-year-old altar boy in the Donnycarney district of Dublin when he was abused by Father Thomas Naughton.

Father Naughton was jailed for three years for the offence in 1998.

Despite regular complaints about the priest to diocesan authorities, no action was taken at the time.

Dr Connell's statement on Tuesday was issued as part of the agreed settlement to Mr Rundle.

He said he profoundly regretted the injury caused by Father Naughton and personally apologised to Mr Rundle and his family.

He said if concerns about the conduct of Father Naughton had they been "more successfully pursued," the priest could have been withdrawn from parochial duties.

The Cardinal said he hoped the church would learn from the Rundle case.

'Sheer hell'

Flanked by members of his family outside the Irish High Court building afterwards, Mr Rundle said "an 18-year nightmare" had ended.

"It was only right that they should apologise for putting me through 18 years of sheer hell. It was part of the settlement.

"There was one thing I felt that they had to do - and that was apologise.

"I am delighted the Catholic Church has at last acknowledged the pain it has caused a frightened young boy for so long.

"I am not sure how long it will take to forgive them for taking 18 years to do so."

Mr Rundle said he thought the matter would be sorted when he went to the Archbishop's house with his father in 1985.

"Then I had to go back 10 years later because I heard he (Father Naughton) was doing it to other kids."

The Church has been rocked by recent abuse revelations

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