THERE IS no evidence to suggest that Cardinal Brady committed an offence by not passing on child-abuse complaints against Fr Brendan Smyth, police in the North have said.
PSNI assistant chief constable George Hamilton said he had personally come to an “unambiguous decision” that the all-Ireland primate had no case to answer in relation to matters raised in a recent This World TV documentary.
Mr Hamilton also revealed he held a “meaningful discussion” with the cardinal in the aftermath of the programme as part of an assessment into whether or not Dr Brady may have breached the law by withholding information.
The documentary, called The Shame of the Catholic Church, was aired on May 2nd on BBC and revealed that in 1975 Cardinal Brady had been given names and addresses of six children – some of whom were from the North – who were abused by Fr Brendan Smyth, but that this information was not passed to their parents, the Garda Síochána or the RUC.
The programme caused national outrage and politicians of all hues called for Cardinal Brady to resign.
In the North, Amnesty International said the PSNI should investigate the “potential cover-up of criminal acts of child abuse”.
The revelations are made in a letter from Mr Hamilton to Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice party, who had asked the PSNI to explain what measures had been taken to investigate whether Cardinal Brady was suspected of an offence under section 5 of the Criminal Law Act (NI).
Commenting on Mr Hamilton’s response, Mr Allister said he “remained puzzled”.
He said: “I mean, ‘meaningful conversations’ are not a mode of police investigation with which I am familiar . . . when was this conversation, was it an interview, were there any third parties present?”
He also questioned whether it was the job of the PSNI – rather than the Public Prosecution Service – to determine whether someone was suspected under the legislation.
A police spokesperson said: “The PSNI have assessed all information presented within the BBC programme and have found no evidence that any of the allegations contained within the programme occurred within this jurisdiction.”
The Catholic communications office said it had no comment to make.