The evil saga of Fr. Brendan Smyth’s years of abuse against children was covered up for decades by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. The present Cardinal, Sean Brady, was personally involved in silencing victims of Fr. Smyth as far back as 1975. The story of this evil Priest, and the cover-up of his crimes, is central to the issues surrounding the current Stormont Inquiry into child abuse. Peter Robinson as First Minister seems bent on full co-operation with Sean Brady and the Roman Catholic Church to keep these crimes covered up and prevent any criminal prosecutions of abusive Priests.
Eureka online encyclopedia entry on Fr. Brendan Smyth giving a comprehensive overview of his evil career of abuse and the cover-up by Roman Catholic authorities
Hundreds of children could have been saved from paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth had the sex abuse scandal been dealt with properly by the Catholic Church, a new UTV Insight Special programme reveals.
In Suffer Little Children, Counterpoint expose the Father Brendan Smyth child sex case in a broadcast which reporter Chris Moore said “may forever have changed the face of Catholicism in Ireland”.
In 1995, Counterpoint reveals how the Catholic Church had known about paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth and had moved him around, where he was able to continue to abuse other children.
Dig up Smyth or Abbey deal is off
Buyer insists abuser priest be cremated before a sale by Ali Bracken Crime Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
THE body of Fr Brendan Smyth is to be exhumed and cremated because a prospective buyer wants him off the land.
The paedophile is buried at Kilnacrott Abbey in Co. Cavan, which the Norbertine Order, of which Smyth was a member, has tried to sell for three years. But the would-be buyer is refusing to sign the contract until the remains of the notorious priest – who is known to have molested more than 100 children until his arrest in 1994 – are removed.
The prospective owner intends to turn the abbey and its accompanying 44 acres into a nursing home.
When the abbey was put on the market in 2008, it was expected to fetch €3million. However, because of the collapse in values, it is no longer expected to sell for even close to that amount.
Wally Young, spokesman for Kilnacrott Abbey, confirmed that ‘discussions were ongoing’ over the sale.
He declined to comment further on the exhumation plans.
Auctioneer Padraig Smith, who is handling the sale, said discussions over the transaction were ‘progressing well’ but declined to comment any further.
The Irish Daily Mail understands that the prospective buyer has told the Abbey ‘in no uncertain terms’ that they will not sign the final contract until the paedophile priest’s remains are removed. Last year, Kilnacrott Abbey was granted planning permission by Cavan County Council to turn the site into a nursing home.
This was done at the behest of the prospective buyer.
But in recent months, the buyer has told the Abbey it will not sign off on the sale until Smyth’s remains are gone.
The owner of the company that intends to buy the abbey is an Irishman with strong business ties to the U.S. Kilnacrott Abbey is in the process of seeking an exhumation order from Cavan county council.
There is no reason this would not be granted.
The abbey may seek the assistance of gardaí for security reasons when exhuming the remains, which will then be cremated.
‘The new buyer is insisting they want any trace of Smyth gone,’ said a source.
‘It’s a strange request but who can blame them. They won’t buy the property until he is gone.
‘They don’t want the people living in the nursing home walking down to the graveyard and seeing his gravestone. They want him gone, plain and simple.
‘Plans to remove him are in motion and are due to happen very soon.’ Five years ago it was revealed that some visitors regularly arrive to pray and lay flowers at the grave of the paedophile cleric.
The word ‘Rev’ was removed from Smyth’s headstone after a direct plea was made to the order.
The Norbertines, who were aware of Smyth’s crimes as early as the late Forties but did not report him to the Garda Síochána or the then Royal Ulster Constabulary, covered his grave with concrete to deter vandalism.
The dates of his birth and death, and that of his ordination remain on the headstone.
The priest was buried in the Norbertine plot amid some secrecy in the hours before dawn and the grave lay unmarked for some time before a headstone was erected. Smyth died of a massive heart attack at age 70 in 1997, just one month into a 12-year sentence for sex crimes against children. He had pleaded guilty to 74 charges of indecent and sexual assault committed more than 35 years. The Norbertines had banned Smyth from celebrating Mass or administering the sacraments, but reserved a burial plot for him at the abbey.
Before imprisonment in the Curragh, Smyth had served a fouryear sentence in the North.
The Brendan Smyth affair brought down a government.
The seven-month delay in extraditing him to Northern Ireland ended the Albert Reynolds-led coalition in November 1994.
Despite the frequency and extent of recent paedophile scandals within the Catholic Church in Ireland and further afield, he remains one of the world’s most notorious clerical sex abusers.
During a period of more than 40 years, Smyth sexually abused and indecently assaulted more than 100 children in Belfast and Dublin, and parishes in Rhode Island and North Dakota in the U.S.
He was suspected of similar actions while on pastoral work in Wales and Italy. He was moved from parish to parish by the Church as complaints about his abuse of children emerged.
He destroyed my family – it would be good to get rid of every trace of him, says victim
By Crime Correspondent (Irish Daily Mail)
HIS ACTIONS could so easily have shattered her life beyond repair.
But instead, a woman sexually assaulted as a child by Brendan Smyth has used her experience to help other victims of clerical abuse seek justice.
Helen McGonigle, 49, was just six when she was first assaulted by Brendan Smyth.
She told the Irish Daily Mail that she would be happy to see him cremated ‘to get rid of every lasting trace of him’.
Miss McGonigle was living in East Greenwich in Rhode Island with her family when Smyth entered her life. The sexual abuse continued for the next four years.
The family, of Irish descent, were members of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and it was here that they came into contact with Smyth.
A master manipulator, the priest infiltrated her family’s daily life.
He also sexually abused her elder sister Kathleen under the pretence of preparing her for the sacrament of penance.
Kathleen and her brother Gerard both died from fatal drug overdoses as a result of the abuse Smyth perpetrated against her family.
Her mother also spent time in a mental institution before her death because of the actions of the paedophile priest.
Miss McGonigle repressed the memory of the horrors Smyth inflicted upon her as a child.
They only came to the surface six years ago when she began to look deeper into what caused her sister’s fatal overdose from antidepressants in 2005.
As she delved into their early life in Rhode Island, she soon learned that her elder sister, and many other children, were also victims of Smyth.
Now a lawyer with her own practice in Connecticut, Miss McGonigle has dedicated her professional life to defending sexual abuse victims.
She is taking a legal action against the diocese of Providence for the abuse Smyth perpetrated against her and one of her childhood neighbours.
‘I first met him when I was six,’ Miss McGonigle said. ‘He came to bless our house.
‘He was very charismatic in a very smooth and cunning way.
‘He was able to talk to my grandparents in Irish, I remember. Smyth blessed our new home, giving us the crucifix from his abbey.’
The McGonigle family moved from Rhode Island in 1973 but the damage wreaked by Smyth never left them.
Her sister Kathleen took her own life in 2006 while her brother Gerard also committed suicide in 2008. Neither could live with the destruction Smyth had inflicted upon their lives.
‘It is no exaggeration to say that he destroyed my entire family,’ Miss McGonigle said.
‘He was moved around four states in the U.S., from parish to parish and he abused children everywhere he went.
‘My brother never said that he was abused by Smyth but he could not cope with the fact that he did not protect us from him.
‘I’m not surprised they want him exhumed.
‘Like everything else about the Brendan Smyth case, it continues to live on.
‘It’s an ugly legacy that seems to revive itself for a reason.
‘It might be a good thing he is to be cremated, to get rid of every lasting trace of him.’
‘He was smooth and cunning’
Leering into camera lens, he was the essence of evil and immorality
(Irish Daily Mail) STARING into the camera lens with menace, the photograph of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth remains seared into the memory of anyone who sees it.
It captured forever the essence of a man capable of inflicting indescribable horror on 100 children and symbolised the immorality of the world’s most prolific clerical sex abuser.
Belfast-born Smyth, who was eventually convicted of a litany of sexual abuse against children north and south of the border, was one of hundreds of priests from Irish seminaries sent to the U.S. for pastoral duties. Some, such as Smyth, were re-located to America by the Church authorities when accusations of abuse began to emerge.
They were treated as problems that could be placed out of sight and out of mind.
It took 20 years of allegations against Smyth before he was finally brought before the courts and jailed.
His abuse was covered up by the Catholic hierarchy as he was moved between countries, parishes and dioceses where he continued to prey on children.
As a priest in the Falls Road area of Belfast, he targeted four children from the same family.
It was their courage in reporting the abuse to police that led to his first conviction.
In 1991 he was arrested and released on bail, before spending the next three years out of the reach of the RUC, when he stayed at Kilnacrott Abbey in Co. Cavan.
When the priest finally appeared before a Belfast court, he was convicted of 3 charges of sexually assaulting children and was sentenced to four years in prison.
He was later found guilty of another 26 charges and given a three-year sentence to run concurrently. Upon his release, Smyth was immediately arrested and extradited to the Republic. In 1997, he appeared in court in Dublin where he admitted 7 charges of abuse over a 35-year period.
He had assaulted children in a hotel, a cinema, a convent and other venues across nine different counties.
Last year, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, was accused of helping to cover up Smyth’s abuse and called on to resign after it was revealed that he had attended meetings in the Seventies at which two abused teenagers signed vows of silence over their complaints against Smyth. But the cardinal insisted: ‘There was no cover-up, I believed those people. I brought what I heard to the bishop.’ The complaints of abuse were investigated by Cardinal Brady in his capacity as the then secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore in 1975.
He said he had been following his bishop’s orders and there were no guidelines for dealing with such investigations at the time.
‘Now I know with hindsight that I should have done more,’ he said. ‘I thought at that time I was doing what I was required to do, and not just that, but most effectively. I acted with great urgency to get that evidence and produce it.’ He added, however, that he did not believe it was a resigning matter.
FOR SALE THREE YEARS ON, 43 ACRES THAT WOULD HAVE FETCHED €3M AT THE HEIGHT OF THE BOOM
(Irish Daily Mail) KILNACROTT ABBEY in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, comprises more than 43 acres of land and an abbey built in the early Fifties.
The purpose-built structure has three storeys and is built over a basement.
There is also a single-storey guest bungalow, three lock-up garages and five open car ports.
Last year, the abbey obtained planning permission to change its function into a 60-bedroom nursing home.
The planning permission also allows for the demolition of existing non-original extensions and the construction of a new three-storey bedroom wing.
In 2008, the Norbertine Order put the Abbey on the market.
At that time, the property was expected to fetch in excess of €3 million.
But due to the collapse in the property market, the current prospective buyer is expected to buy it for far less. In a statement in 2008, the order said that after much consideration it had decided to dispose of Holy Trinity Abbey and surrounding lands.
The order failed to say if any of the money raised would go to the dozens of victims of the late Brendan Smyth.
‘We will, of course, continue to offer support and maintain contact with those people who were so wrongly abused by one of our priests,’ the Norbertines said in a statement at the time.
The order said it had to plan for the future, as an ageing community, ‘and deal with all of the challenges this presents in the years ahead’.
‘We want to assure people of this local area, who have been so incredibly supportive to us in the challenging times that we will be staying in the area – and will hopefully continue to provide services well into the future,’ the statement added.
THE CELTIC DIABLO: Reverend Brendan Smyth O.Prae