Editorial: Independent Commission needed

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin’s call for an independent international commission of inquiry into the crimes of the paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth is to be welcomed.

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin’s call for an independent international commission of inquiry into the crimes of the paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth is to be welcomed.

Even in a country jaded by commissions, this is one that is needed. Such a body would be free to address in a comprehensive manner the heinous crimes committed by this man, and the consequent issues the Catholic Church has to face in its handling of the whole abuse scandal.

One of the principal questions that has to be addressed is why this man was allowed to continue in this role for years, a role which afforded him the opportunity to be in the company of children.

At this stage only an outside body will be able to get an answer on this, and determine the truth.

An independent commission would also afford the victims of abuse some measure of relief, comfort and justice and ensure that future generations of children are protected.

The manner in which the Catholic Church in this country has been convulsed by this scandal has been to a large extent of its own making. Its validity as an institution, in which many people place their upmost trust, has been hugely, of not fatally, undermined. For its followers and for the many good people who makes up its ranks, answers are required.