FILES in the Diocese of Limerick show 23 priests have been suspected of paedophilia since 1940, 11 of whom are deceased.
And the Diocese has said no serving priest is currently under Garda investigation in relation to child sexual abuse.
Calls have been made this week to extend the state abuse inquiry into the Diocese of Limerick given that it shared a case management committee with the Diocese of Cloyne until 2009. This committee - which is no longer in operation - is criticised in Judge Yvonne Murphy’s Cloyne Report for placing the interests of priest abusers above those of their victims.
The Government is for the moment resisting calls to extend the remit of the Murphy Commission as it awaits the results of separate audits being carried out by the HSE and the Catholic Church’s own child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children.
But Limerick is not one of the dioceses being examined by the latter body, the Diocese said this week.
“The NBSC has not conducted an audit of the Diocese. However, the Diocese will be glad to co-operate fully when the Board audits the Diocese as part of its national programme. The HSE has conducted an audit and the Diocese provided all information to that process. They anticipate that this will be published in the autumn,” the Diocese said in a statement to the Limerick Leader.
Based on its own files going back 70 years - a period during which 520 priests have held a diocesan appointment - concerns have been raised in respect of 23 priests, 11 of whom are deceased, the Diocese said.
“These figures constitute a record of allegations made and suspicions raised of child sexual abuse and are irrespective of the eventual outcome of investigations by the civil authorities,” the Diocese stated. And the “vast majority” of complaints “relate to matters going back some decades”.