Winter 2013 Editorial



‘Revisiting’ the Murphy Report is a delicate and even hazardous undertaking. Regrettably, public debate in this country becomes quickly polarised. We readily tend to assume bad faith in those of a different view to our own. The report has been presented in the media and elsewhere as simply beyond criticism, so that to raise any questions whatever in its regard is – as part of the pattern just mentioned – to be rejected out of hand as being all too obviously in denial. This issue of Studies is entirely dedicated to ‘revisiting the Murphy Report’, the Commission of Investigation: Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy and published in 2009.

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Commissions of Investigation and Procedural Fairness

This review of the Commissions of Investigation Act, 2004, in relation to the work and report of the Murphy Commission, as it became known, accepts and acknowledges that grave injustice and suffering were inflicted on young people and their families by the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by clerics in positions of trust, operating under the aegis of the archdiocese of Dublin. It also acknowledges that the failure by the archdiocese to respond in a timely or effective manner to allegations of such abuse aggravated the wrongdoing and extended the injustice and the suffering of innocent children. The review examines the operation of the Murphy Commission under the 2004 Act.


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Winter 2013 issue

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At the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius Loyola lays down the basic principle that ‘it must be presupposed that any good Christian has to be more ready to justify than to condemn a neighbour’s statement’ (#22). It is salutary to ponder that principle when we think of how the Murphy Report has been handled in public discussion since its appearance. And it is in the spirit of that principle that readers are invited to enter into dialogue with the reflections published in this issue. Studies is honoured that Marie Collins, who has been such a perseveringly brave, dignified and honourable voice, nationally and internationally, for all survivors of abuse, has contributed to this issue.

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