Republic of Ireland news

‘Historic shift' in Ireland's attitude to church sex abuse scandal

Mark Ruffalo attending the photocall for the UK premiere of Spotlight, at the Washington Mayfair Hotel, London. Picture by Daniel Leal-Olivas, PA Wire 
Kate Ferguson, Press Association

IRISH-American film director Tom McCarthy said he believes Ireland is leading the way in addressing the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal.

But he warned the Church must do everything "humanly possible" to root out the abuse and ensure it never happens again.

The director, born in New Jersey to Irish parents, made the comments at the UK premiere of his new film Spotlight, which tells the story of a 2001 newspaper investigation exposing the child sex abuse scandal in Boston, America.

He told the Press Association he thought the Church had "absolutely" woken up to its past abuse.

He said: "I was just in Ireland where I think they are probably ahead of everybody on this curve in terms of how they are responding, and by that I mean the citizens of Ireland responding to the Catholic Church.

"And I think there is quite a historic shift there. I think the Catholic Church has to pay attention now.

"That said they need to continue to prove that they are being as active and transparent on this issue as humanly possible to ensure that this never happens again, and there is still a way to go there."

The past few decades child sex abuse scandals have been uncovered at Catholic churches all over the world, including in Ireland, Britain and the United States.

Thousands of children were molested while their abusers went unpunished and their crimes covered up.

Last year a United Nations report accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to the abuse for decades.

It said officials had imposed a "code of silence" on clerics and moved abusers from parish to parish in a bid to cover up their crimes.

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