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Ahern admits Vatican proposed Irish State indemnify it against clerical abuse claims

Ahern admits Vatican proposed Irish State indemnify it against clerical abuse claims

Former local TD Dermot Ahern has admitted that a senior Vatican official sought an agreement in 2004 under which Ireland would indemnify the Catholic Church against legal actions for compensation by clerical child sexual abuse survivors.

“No one forewarned me. I was completely taken aback,” Mr Ahern said of the approach by Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

Revealing details of the meeting for the first time, the former minister told The Irish Times: “The cardinal had just come off a plane from the US where he had successfully concluded claims. It was a very direct question. He wanted to know whether the Irish government would indemnify the Vatican against any similar claims in Ireland. He was as blunt as that.”

Mr Ahern told him that “on no account could I give such an undertaking and that it was a matter that would have to be decided by the government anyhow.

“I was very annoyed,” added the Blackrock man.

Read the full story in today’s Irish Times here.

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