TD rebukes Bishop

Inishowen TD Padraig MacLochlainn has robustly defended party colleague Martin McGuinness after criticism of the Deputy First Minister by Bishop Donal McKeown.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor accused Irish politicians of displaying ‘a lack of statesmanship’ regarding Cardinal Sean Brady.

Martin McGuinness said the Vatican should ‘move out of denial mode’ on child sexual abuse. He also called on Cardinal Brady ‘to do the right thing’.

Bishop Donal McKeown said: “It is hard to take criticism of Cardinal Brady from many people who during the Troubles were involved in state bodies, paramilitary bodies or who shared platforms with those organisations, who did huge damage to children and their families.

He added:“How many of us, who have lived in the NI glasshouse, are in a position to throw stones? There are many of our leaders whose lives show that, just because you have a past, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a future.”

Deputy MacLochlainn said it was nonsense for Bishop McKeown to suggest politicians should remain silent. He said: “We are talking here about the rape and brutalisation of children, some of whom lived in institutions controlled by the Catholic Church. Child sexual abuse is a betrayal of all that Christ stands for. We should not be deflected or distracted from that fact by criticism such as Bishop McKeown’s.

“It is not trendy lefties or easily dismissed opponents who are confronting Cardinal Brady. It is grassroots Catholics, practising Catholics. This is a moment of truth for the hierarchy of the Church. Lessons on child safeguarding need to be learned and the Church needs to go in a completely new direction.”