Dermot Ahern: report

Mass-goers walked out of a church in the controversial Cloyne diocese last weekend in disgust at the officiating priest's sermon about child abuse in church-run industrial schools.

Locum priest Fr Con O'Donovan made his provocative comments about the Ryan Report's revelations during the 8pm vigil mass on Saturday evening in St Fursey's Church, Banteer, Co Cork.

While the country was reeling from the horrific details contained in the report, the retired parish priest of Ballyclough told his congregation

that children held in industrial schools had benefited from great advantages, given the circumstances they would otherwise have faced.

He asked for prayers for members of religious orders who devoted their lives to the children in the institutions and who, he said, earned "only half a crown". The cleric, aged in his 70s, was filling in for Banteer's parish priest who was on holidays.

According to different accounts, between four and 11 people among the congregation left the church during the homily.

The first person to go was a man who walked to the church door, blessed himself with holy water from the font, turned back to address the elderly priest on the altar and said: "May God forgive you."

Meanwhie, last Tuesday, a woman in the north Cork diocese who had made a formal complaint of child sexual abuse to gardaí in January following the publication of the Cloyne Report was
notified by gardaí that the DPP's office has ordered no charges be brought.

It is believed the lapse of time since the alleged offences, which began when she was 13 and went on for three years, was the reason for no proesecution.

The priest whom the woman says abused her is referred to as Father B in the Cloyne Report.

The DPP had earlier decided against prosecutions in three other cases where women complained they too were sexually abused by Father B when they were schoolgirls.

One of those women has died since. A fifth woman, a former postulant nun, also came forward in January claiming that Father B raped her. That file is still with the DPP.

"It's all well and good Dermot Ahern telling victims to go to the guards with information but what's the point when so many people are turned down by the DPP?" said one of the women abused by Father B.

"People are given no explanation for these decisions. The state protects these monsters with the statute of limitations. Does Dermot Ahern know what it takes for us to come forward? I'm holding onto my sanity by my fingernails."

Meanwhile, another parish priest in Cloyne has been placed on administrative leave under the procedures prescribed in the 'Our Children, Our Church' guidelines, following a new complaint by a woman that he sexually abused her when she was a minor.