Fr. Mac Cárthaigh
Former pupils to meet senator about alleged abuse, by Claire O’Sullivan, Thursday, August 04, 2011
FORMER pupils of a Cork boarding school will meet in Dublin this month with the Fianna Fáil senator who used Seanad privilege to uncloak their former principal as an alleged child abuser who flouted his restricted ministry.
According to Senator Mark Daly, he will meet with a number of past pupils who are alleging abuse at Coláiste an Chroí Naofa.
Some of the group have not yet made complaints to the order or to gardaí.
The organisers hope to have legal representatives present at the meeting so the group can examine the best way to process civil and criminal complaints.
Mr Daly said: “We will also be asking the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church [NBSCCC] to begin their planned audit of the religious orders with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, as there are so many questions around how they handled complaints around Fr Donncha Mac Cárthaigh.
“We do not have any faith in the Sacred Heart Missionaries’ internal investigation as you can’t have an order investigating themselves in a matter like this.”
The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart’s incoming Provincial Superior, Fr Joseph McGee, will visit Coláiste an Chroí Naofa in Carraig na bhFear in September to begin a process where he “will personally contact and interview past and present members of staff and past pupils”.
Seven abuse complaints were made by six men and one woman against former principal Fr Mac Cárthaigh, who was a Cork GAA county selector and trainer between 1986 and 2008. In the late 1980s, he stepped aside as principal “under a cloud”, and became a career guidance counsellor at the school. In 1996, he was put on restricted ministry.
Several emails have been sent by the Irish Examiner to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart seeking interviews with the order, but no response has been received.
Meanwhile, a solicitor for Fr Mac Cárthaigh has said his client is innocent and that Mr Daly has “seriously damaged his reputation”.
“Parliamentary privilege is a legal privilege and should not have been used by Senator Daly to name Fr Mac Cárthaigh, an individual who has never been convicted of an offence under the laws of this country. Fr Mac Cárthaigh agrees with the remarks of the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter who described Senator Daly’s naming of him as completely inappropriate,” he said.