It is widely reported that the Bishop of Galway Bishop, Martin Drennan does not intend to resign. Bishop Drennan states that he wasn’t asked to appear before the Commission, but it should be remembered that the Commission only investigated a representative sample of allegations against 46 priests - it found allegations against 172 (102 of which were inside the terms of reference). We don’t know who was involved in the handling of those other allegations because the point of investigating a representative sample is to establish the culture, practices and system that existed between 1975 and 2004. That system, which Bishop Drennan was a part of for 7 years covered up the sexual abuse of children and caused the sexual abuse of more children.
Bishop Drennan states that by the time of his appointment in 1997 child protection structures were already in place. The Framework document of 1996 which he refers to was flawed and Cardinal Connell told the Commission that it was not binding in canon or civil law so he could follow only those guidelines he wanted to follow – and the Commission makes it very clear that the guidelines were in place but were not being implemented. Change only began to occur with the appointment of a new head of Child Protection Services Mr Phil Garland in 2003.
Bishop Drennan advises against anger and adds insult to injury when he describes our calls for accountability as vengeful. He says he met with 60 priests from the Diocese of Galway and seems to enjoy their full support. I have today emailed the Bishop and asked him to formally invite 60 victims of sexual abuse by priests in Dublin to come and meet him in Galway to express their views.
I reiterate my call for Bishop Martin Drennan to resign.
END - 27/12/2009