Page last updated at 18:44 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

'Just resolution' needed - Brady

Cardinal Sean Brady
Cardinal Sean Brady is being sued at the Dublin High Court

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said he wants to work towards "a just resolution" in a court case being taken against him.

Cardinal Sean Brady has been called to withdraw his defence in a legal battle with a man who claims he was abused by paedophile priest, Fr Brendan Smyth.

The man is suing Cardinal Brady in his capacity as head of the Irish church.

Cardinal Brady said the outcome should be "conscious of the rights of all concerned".

He said he had asked his legal representatives to engage the complainant's lawyers with a view to progressing the case.

"As these matters are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings, and in light of the instructions I have given to my legal representatives today, it would be inappropriate for me to offer any further comment at this time," the All-Ireland primate added.

Silence

Documents lodged at the High Court allege that the victim was abused by prolific paedophile Smyth while he was an altar boy in Dundalk in the early 1970s.

The alleged victim contends that the church called an ecclesiastical court to deal with the allegations and assured him and his father that Smyth would never be allowed to abuse children again.

The Cardinal's defence, which is dated February of last year and which is not sworn, denies such a court was called or that such assurances were given.

It says that the acts alleged are not grounds for suing him and asks for proof that they happened.

It also denies the man's claims that Dr Brady is the Catholic Church's representative here, that Smyth was his servant or agent and that the Cardinal owed the man any duty of care.

Last month, the man's solicitor wrote to the Cardinal's solicitors, saying the defence was compounding the grievous wrongs perpetrated on his client.

Apology

The victim's legal team also asked the Cardinal to withdraw his defence to give "practical expression" to the Cardinal's recent statements of remorse about clerical sexual abuse.

The churchman recently apologised to anyone who had been hurt by any failure on his part.

Victims have called for the Cardinal's resignation after it emerged that he was present at two meetings in the 1970s when victims of Smyth were sworn to silence about what had happened.

The information provided by the victims was not passed on to Irish police and Smyth went on to abuse many more children.



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