Northern Ireland

Cardinal Brady revelations: reaction

As the BBC's This World documentary offers fresh revelations about the failure of the Irish Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady to protect children from abuse, Church representatives, politicians and victims of clerical abuse respond.

Senior Vatican prosecutor, Monsignor Charles Scicluna

"My first point is that Fr Brady was a note taker in 1975, he did what he should have done. He forwarded all the information to the people that had the power to act.

My second point is that in the interest of the Church in Ireland, they need to have Cardinal Brady as the archbishop of Armagh because he has shown determination in promoting child protection policies. You need to have leaders who have learned the hard way and are determined to protect children.

They have learned because they have realised that you have to act immediately.

Maeve Lewis, One in Four

"It will be heartbreaking for survivors to realise that their suffering could have been avoided if only action had been taken.

While on paper the Church now has good child protection practices, this documentary casts a shadow on the credibility of Cardinal Brady as a leader of the new policy. Although the times were very different then, it is unimaginable that any adult had such knowledge and failed to act"

This devastating situation highlights how important it is that legislation is in place to keep children safe. The new Children First Bill and the Withholding Information Bill (in the Republic of Ireland) will, when enacted, prevent such catastrophic failures to keep children safe."

Enda Kenny, Taoiseach

"I cannot eradicate the tragedies and the horrendous activities that have been done in the past but what I do need, as head of government, is to ensure that these things never happen again.

"That's why a senior minister for children has been appointed and that's why, last week, we published the legislation dealing with information about sexual abuse and abuse of children.

"That's why we published the legislation for child guidelines to be put in law. That's why we make preparations for a referendum in respect of the protection and rights of children.

"It's also important that every organisation dealing with children, including religious organisations, play their full part in co-operating with government."

Peter Robinson, NI First Minister

"Today, my thoughts are with the many victims who have never received justice and who still live with the mental and physical scars. I assure them of my continued support as they seek answers and justice.

In September 2011 the Executive established an inquiry into historical institutional child abuse. The framework of this inquiry was developed through consultation with victims. It is designed to meet their needs and will have the power to compel witnesses and documents.

Whilst many are understandably asking serious questions about the Catholic Church leadership, the position of Cardinal Brady is a matter which the Catholic Church hierarchy and its individual members should determine."

Alan Shatter, Irish Justice Minister

Mr Shatter said the cases outlined in the programme were "tragic and disturbing" .

The minister added that if a report had been made to the civil authorities at the time, some of those who were victims of abuse may never have become such victims, while others would have had an intervention that would have ended their abuse earlier.

Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh

"I don't see any reason why he should resign. He did what he was asked to do as a young priest.

Sean Brady would not have been expected to report to the parents. He passed it onto his bishop. That is the line of responsibility. Acting as notary he was not in a position and could not be seen in a position to contact parents. That was a position that lay with his superiors."

Martin Ridge, former Garda detective

(He investigated abuse allegations against Father Eugene Green, a priest in the diocese of Raphoe, jailed for 12 years for child sexual abuse.)

"There is so much confusion here, basically where everybody runs when a child is in trouble.

It has taken almost 30 years. Still there is nobody in management held accountable for what happened.

Those files had to be there somewhere. It takes forever it seems for the Church to stand up and say 'Yes, that happened'."

John McCourt, abuse victim

"One of the things that was actually said was that there were no Church guidelines back then in child protection, neither were there any civil guidelines.

There is a moral imperative on a priest or any adult who knows that abuse is taking place to report it and, at the very least, to go and inform the families of those concerned that they have suspicions... that the child is being abused.

Cardinal Brady in 2010 said if any of his actions or his failures caused a child to be abused then he would resign. It's time to stand over that now."

Seamus Close, former Alliance Party MLA

"Following Cardinal Brady's silence, following his lack of action, he was elevated to cardinal and regarded as a Prince of the Church… was this a reward for silence?

It's unbelievable. It is totally and absolutely unacceptable. It's like a little clique. A little clique protecting each other's back."

Aodhan O'Riordan, Labour TD

"If the Church is going to renew itself and have a proper respectable place in Irish society and to accept the damage it has caused to generations of Irish children, then I believe it has to be led by somebody who doesn't have to look over his shoulder.

"Cardinal Brady has to make his statement if he feels he is that person."