herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Church's '€10k offer for victim's silence'

A DUNDALK man abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth and sworn to secrecy by the Church, has revealed he was offered €10,000 by its lawyers.

Brendan Boland was one of two boys who had to sign an oath of secrecy in 1975 when they gave evidence about their abuse by Smyth to a church inquiry.

Norbertine priest Smyth continued to abuse children and is believed to have raped and sexually assaulted more than 100 children over five decades up to the 1990s.

In his memoir "Sworn to Silence", Boland says Cardinal Sean Brady, who was a 36-year-old canon lawyer and teacher in 1975, countersigned the oath of secrecy the Dundalk man was required to make about Smyth.

He says in 2011 Church lawyers offered him €10,000 to settle his High Court case for damages. The amount was to include legal costs for 14 years litigation.

Boland subsequently settled the case for €100,000 plus costs the following year.

He was unsuccessful in a request to the Cardinal to publicly acknowledge the Church's failure to protect children from Smyth as part of the settlement.

No admission of liability was made. Boland, a technical support engineer who now works in the UK, had sued Cardinal Brady in his capacity as the Archbishop of Armagh.

FAILED

He is also being sued personally by the youngest of Smyth's known victims who is claiming that the Cardinal knew about Smyth's abuse but failed to tell the civil authorities and so endangered her and other children.

Two other priests who attended the secret interview with Boland in March 1975 were interviewed by gardai 20 years later.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic hierarchy has confirmed that Cardinal Brady was not interviewed by gardai.

Said the spokeswoman: "Cardinal Brady had no knowledge of a garda investigation in the early 1990's regarding Smyth. If he had been approached by the gardai he would have made a statement."

Cardinal Brady will tender his notice as the Archbishop of Armagh to Pope Francis when he turns 75 on August 16 next.

She refused to make any comment about the €10,000 offer.

hnews@herald.ie

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