Dr Martin: no comment

The archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has refused to be drawn on whether he would support the establishment of "diocese by diocese" inquiries into how church authorities handled allegations of the abuse of children by clergy in their care.

Dr Martin, who is one of a small group of people to have had access to the contents of the forthcoming report into the Dublin archdiocese, told RTE recently that the publication of the report could help point the way forward for dealing with paedophilia.

However, a spokeswoman for Dr Martin declined to comment when asked if he would support the establishment of a similar inquiry into every diocese in the country.

Maeve Lewis, executive director of abuse victim support group One in Four, said she believed "every diocese in the country would bear examination", and would like to see the model employed by the Commission of Investigation into Sexual Abuse extended around the country.

She noted that the commission's terms of reference means it has only dealt with allegations in the Dublin archdiocese between January 1975 and April 2004.

It is currently ex­amining the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Cloyne diocese between January 1996 and February 1st 2009.

Lewis said any broader diocese-by- diocese inquiry would need to include an examination not just of historical handling of abuse allegations, but also how current practices and procedures are working on the ground.

"The Commission of Investigation in Dublin has conducted its business in a very efficient and effective manner. Unlike the audits undertaken by the HSE, part of the evidence is through interviews with survivors of abuse which I think is crucial," she said.

Asked if any consideration has been given to the prospect of a commission-style 'diocese-by-diocese' inquiry, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said its focus "is on the Dublin archdiocese report at the current time". "The situation is that we are awaiting the High Court's decision in relation to when we can publish the report," he said." The minister [for Justice Dermot Ahern] is anxious to publish the report but is also anxious to ensure there is no possibility it will impact on any prosecutions."

The High Court is expected to give its final ruling this week on how much of the report – which will strongly criticise successive Dublin bishops for failing to stop abuse by clergy – may be published. A decision will then be taken on when to publish the report, although it is thought to be highly unlikely this will happen this week.