The head of Ireland’s Catholic Church is coming under increasing pressure to resign over a paedophile priest scandal.
The North’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, is the latest high profile personality to comment on Cardinal Sean Brady’s apparent failure to act when alerted to abuse allegations when he was a young priest.
A television documentary this week revealed that, in 1975, a 14-year-old boy who had been sexually abused by paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth gave the then Fr Brady the names and addresses of other children who had been abused.
The programme makers claimed Fr Brady did not pass on the details to the police or parents.
Martin McGuinness believes Cardinal Brady should now “reflect on the wisdom of his position.”
The Derry politician said Catholics would be “dismayed” by the new allegations about the primate’s response to abuse allegations 37 years ago.
He added: “Two years ago, when this issue first emerged, I described the situation as grave and said that Cardinal Brady should consider his position.
“Ultimately, Cardinal Brady’s response is a matter for himself and the Church, but it is a very grave situation for survivors of abuse, for the Catholic Church and for Catholics across Ireland.
“Speaking, personally, I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all.”
Speaking on Wednesday, Cardinal Brady said he was “shocked, appalled and outraged” by Smyth and said he had trusted that those with the authority to act in relation to Smyth would treat the evidence seriously and respond appropriately.
He added: “I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my Bishop had limited authority over him. The only people who had authority within the Church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his Abbot in Kilnacrott and his Religious Superiors in the Norbertine Order.”