More than 100 Catholic priests have been accused of child sex abuse over the past 66 years in the Dublin area, a shocking report has revealed.
New figures from Dublin’s Catholic Archdiocese show accusations have been made against 102 priests between 1940 and 2006.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said some 350 victims have been identified – with indications that about 40 more people may have been abused, but it was not possible to identify them.
A State inquiry into the handling of clerical child sex-abuse allegations by the Church’s authorities in Dublin is to be formally established by the Government next week.
Colm O’Gorman, the founder of a group working for survivors of sexual abuse, One in Four, said many more wrongs would be exposed by the Government-commissioned probe.
Mr O’Gorman said at the onset of the Ferns investigation, which revealed a catalogue of abuse, he had expected it to identify about eight priests as abusers rather than the shocking figure of 26.
Mary White, the deputy leader of the Green Party, said the Catholic Church in Ireland could weather the storm over sexual abuse as long as all the inquiries were carried out in a transparent manner to pave the way forward.
After the report revealed that more than 350 victims had been identified, Ms White said: “One is too high – that is a huge number. There may well be more, I am quite sure people may come forward who have been so traumatised by the past. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were more.”
She added: “I would certainly compliment the Archbishop on the way he has handled the scandal which has demoralised the clergy and has caused huge hurt and concern among the laity. If there are further allegations they will come out. There is a climate now for change.”
The founder of One in Four also praised Dr Martin’s open investigation into child abuse in the diocese.