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Irish leader stands by criticism of Vatican 'interference'

September 06, 2011

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny has refused to back off his criticism of the Holy See, despite a Vatican statement insisting that the criticism was unfounded.

Kenny defended the fiery speech that he had delivered in July, charging that the Vatican had interfered with sex-abuse investigations in Ireland. In its response to Irish criticism, released on September 3, the Vatican had called upon Kenny to explain that charge. The Irish leader explained that in this case the Vatican's "interference" consisted of failing to cooperate with an investigative committee.

In a September 6 address in Galway, Kenny said that he had been referring to three requests by an investigative committee for assistance from the Vatican. This was “a statutory commission of inquiry,” Kenny said, and “anything less than full cooperation in my view is unwarranted interference.”

The investigators’ requests were turned down. Vatican officials said that any request for such assistance should be made through normal diplomatic channels.

Kenny said that as a Catholic, “I want to see the Church of which I am a member as absolutely above reproach” on the question of sexual abuse.


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