The former head of the Catholic Church’s child safety watchdog has told the Government that serious concerns he had about the handling of an abuse case were omitted from an official report.
Ian Elliott alleges that the Diocese of Down and Connor blocked the release of information it held about its handling of the case of ex-priest Jim Donaghy, who was jailed for 10 years in 2012 for abusing two altar boys and a trainee priest.
He came to this conclusion after investigating the diocese last May, a month before his retirement from the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.
However, the report on the diocese that was subsequently published by the safeguarding board last December did not refer to his concerns and gave the diocese a clean bill of health.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has demanded an explanation from the safeguarding board.
The Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Noel Treanor, declined to answer questions about the “contents and integrity” of the report, saying it was a matter for the safeguarding board. He said the diocese was “fully open” and “transparent” in its dealings with the board.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Elliott said the report that was published did “not accurately reflect the child protection situation” in Down and Connor.