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CHILD SEXUAL abuse was covered up by the Dublin archdiocese and other church authorities for almost 30 years, according to the report of the commission of investigation. State authorities facilitated this cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all, and by allowing church institutions to be beyond the law, it says.

The welfare of children was disregarded for many years, when the focus was on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the church and its priests. The abuse of children in Dublin was a scandal. The failure of the archdiocesan authorities to penalise the perpetrators is also a scandal, it notes.

The report says it is abundantly clear that child sexual abuse by clerics was widespread throughout the 30-year period it examined. It says there was no doubt the reason for covering up information was to ensure as few people as possible knew of priests problems. There was little or no concern for the welfare of the abused child or for the welfare of other children who might come into contact with the priest. Complainants were often met with denial, arrogance and cover-up and with incompetence and incomprehension in some areas. Suspicions were rarely acted on.

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