Enda Kenny Has Just Delivered This Speech In The Dáil


I move the motion.

The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture.

It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy Reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.

But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.

Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual-abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic…as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.

And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism….the narcissism*…….that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’.

Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s “ear of the heart”……the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.

This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.

The radicalism, humility and compassion which are the very essence of its foundation and purpose.

The behaviour being a case of Roma locuta est: causa finita est.

Except in this instance, nothing could be further from the truth.
Cloyne’s revelations are heart-breaking. It describes how many victims continued to live in the small towns and parishes in which they were reared and in which they were abused… Their abuser often still in the area and still held in high regard by their families and the community. The abusers continued to officiate at family weddings and funerals… In one case, the abuser even officiated at the victim’s own wedding…

There is little I or anyone else in this House can say to comfort that victim or others, however much we want to. But we can and do recognise the bravery of all of the victims who told their stories to the Commission.

While it will take a long time for Cloyne to recover from the horrors uncovered, it could take the victims and their families a lifetime to pick up the pieces of their shattered existence.
A day post-publication, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza.

The Tánaiste left the Archbishop clear on two things:

The gravity of the actions and attitude of the Holy See. And Ireland’s complete rejection and abhorrence of same. The Papal Nuncio undertook to present the Cloyne Report to the Vatican.

The Government awaits the considered response of the Holy See.

I believe that the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who – like me – have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of Church authorities to face up to what is required, deserve and require confirmation from the Vatican that they do accept, endorse and require compliance by all Church authorities here with, the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse, whether current or historical, to the State’s authorities in line with the Children First National Guidance which will have the force of law.
Clericalism has rendered some of Ireland’s brightest, most privileged and powerful men, either unwilling or unable to address the horrors cited in the Ryan and Murphy Reports.
This Roman Clericalism must be devastating for good priests…. some of them old… others struggling to keep their humanity….even their sanity……..as they work so hard…..to be the keepers of the Church’s light and goodness within their parishes…… communities… the human heart.

But thankfully for them, and for us, this is not Rome.
Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.

This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.

A Republic of laws…..of rights and responsibilities….of proper civic order….. where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version….. of a particular kind of ‘morality’….. will no longer be tolerated or ignored.

As a practising Catholic, I don’t say any of this easily.
Growing up, many of us in here learned we were part of a pilgrim Church.

Today, that Church needs to be a penitent Church.
A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied.

In the name of God. But for the good of the institution.

When I say that through our legislation….. through our Government’s action to put Children First…….those who have been abused can take some small comfort in knowing that they belong to a nation…..to a democracy……where….humanity……power…rights…… responsibility….. are enshrined and enacted …..always….always…. for their good.

Where the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supercede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.
This report tells us a tale of a frankly brazen disregard for protecting children. If we do not respond swiftly and appropriately as a State, we will have to prepare ourselves for more reports like this.

I agree with Archbishop Martin that the Church needs to publish any other and all other reports like this as soon as possible.

I must note the Commission is very positive about the work of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, established by the Church to oversee the operation by Dioceses and religious orders. The Commission notes that all Church authorities were required to sign a contract with the National Board agreeing to implement the relevant standards and that those refusing to sign would be named in the Board’s Annual Report. Progress has been in no small measure to the commitment of Ian Elliott and others.

There is some small comfort to be drawn by the people of Cloyne from the fact that the Commission is complimentary of the efforts made by the Diocese since 2008, in training, in vetting personnel and in the risk management of Priests against whom allegations have been made.

Nevertheless, the behaviour of Bishop Magee and Monsignor O’Callaghan show how fragile even good standards and policies are to the weakness and willful disregard of those who fail to give the right priority to safeguarding our children.

But if the Vatican needs to get its house in order, so does this State.

The Report of the Commission is rightly critical of the entirely unsatisfactory position which the last Government allowed to persist over many years. The unseemly bickering between the Minister for Children and the HSE over the statutory powers to deal with extra-familial abuse, the failure to produce legislation to enable the exchange of soft information as promised after the Ferns Enquiry, and the long period of confusion and disjointed responsibility for child protection within the HSE, as reported by the Commission, are simply not acceptable in a society which values children and their safety.

For too long Ireland has neglected its children.

Just last week we saw a case of the torture of children, within the family, come before the courts. Just two days ago, we were repulsed by the case of a Donegal registered sex offender…and school caretaker…

Children and young adults reduced to human wreckage.
Raising questions and issues of serious import for State agencies.

We are set to embark on a course of action to ensure the State is doing all it can to safeguard our children.

Minister Shatter is bringing forward two pieces of legislation – firstly, to make it an offence to withhold information relating to crimes against children and vulnerable adults; and secondly, at long last, to allow for the exchange of ‘soft information’ on abusers.

As Taoiseach, I want to do all I can to protect the sacred space of childhood and to restore its innocence.

Especially our young teenagers, whom I believe to be children.
Because regardless of our current economic crisis, the children of this country are, and always will be, our most precious possession of all.

Safeguarding their integrity and innocence must be a national priority. This is why I undertook to create a Cabinet ministry for Children and Youth Affairs.

The legislation ‘Children First’ proposes to give our children maximum protection and security without intruding on the hectic, magical business of being a child.

Cardinal Josef Ratzinger said “Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.”

As the Holy See prepares its considered response to the Cloyne Report, as Taoiseach, I am making it absolutely clear, that when it comes to the protection of the children of this State, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic.

Not purely, or simply or otherwise.


Taoiseach In Unprecedented Attack On Vatican (RTE)



* Narcissism: in the text but not included in Kenny’s dail address.

Audio below:


Vid via Stephen Jordan

88 thoughts on “Enda Kenny Has Just Delivered This Speech In The Dáil

  1. bozo

    so enda now talks the talk?sounds all well and good but where is the punchline in all this?

  2. Paul

    to summarise “blah de blah, serious face raise one eyebrow and making chopping motion with hand. blah de blah pucker mouth like a hen’s hole. blah de bhah” and do precisely nothing about anything.

  3. he speaks as a Catholic

    He speaks as a Catholic, from inside the tradition, he expects more from the international Roman Catholic Church, … his views are the views of many priests and nuns worldwide…

    1. deejay

      he’s deluded …..how much change has been forced on the Catholic Church in 2000 years?

  4. Mr Meh

    That is not really fair- he points out that this is the background to Minister Shatters bills on the matter.

    Great speech Enda- the first one I have heard from you!

    1. MarkC

      Agree, first speech where he’s sounded like he truly gives a damn….
      Gotta back it up with actions though Enda!!

      1. IrelandGuy

        “Gotta back it up with actions though Enda!!”

        If his actions are anything like the actions he promised on the run-up to the elections then by the end of next month, “Ireland” be apologizing to the Vatican and paying their wages and bonuses for the next 30 years, and who knows maybe even hand them control of a few prefabs along the way.

  5. Roy Cabinet

    Great speech, I’m looking forward to seeing what bullshit the Holy See respond to the report.

  6. paddy de plastered

    I am impressed by this.
    I have never been an FG fan or Enda fan, but he is turning out to be a better statesman that I envisaged.
    One can be snide and say that these are empty words, but sure what else is oration?
    A response was needed to recent events and this hit the nail on the head. All we can do is hope that the substantive follow up is as impressive.

          1. dave

            +100 top stuff words have power…so do actions…but words matter and these are clear, consise and deeply cutting whoever thought those words would be directed towards the vatican from leaders of this country…is calling this the first step towards liberation from Rome too much?

  7. eamonn moran

    Who ever wrote that speech deserves an Oscar. As I read it Enda turned into Al Pacino. But seriously it was a brilliant speech and for once set all the right tones. The cover-up of pedophilia has always been Vatican policy. Blaming the bishops in Ireland was missing the point. They were following orders. If they didnt know that that was their first priority they wouldnt be bishops. Time for a second reformation?

          1. deejay

            Too true ; Nazi youth gave him a good training in running an evil megalomanic organisation.

          2. HoleyCee

            The Nazis had nothing on these bastards. Torture brainwashing and mass graves were the forte of the catholic church.

  8. CairoTango

    And I’ll say it again… I’m *really* starting to appreciate this government..
    There’s some backbone in yer man Kenny!

  9. Mical

    A strong and dare I say it inspiring speech. Eager to see what sort of response the Vatican will provide, as ever though I’m preparing myself for disappointment on that front!

  10. jake

    So it turns out that the church aren’t legally entitled to sexually abuse children in Ireland. The Vatican won’t like that.

  11. Xiao Liu

    Really great speech. I don’t see those as empty words at all. An Ireland whose Taoiseach is willing to spit so ferociously in the Pope’s eye is an Ireland I might start to be proud of.

    Huge +1 for whoever wrote this speech.

  12. Potatohead_11

    ‘Because regardless of our current economic crisis, the children of this country are, and always will be, our most precious possession of all.’

    Yeah right Enda, the children are so precious you’ll take away their special needs teachers, support for child carers, make their fathers/mothers/parents practically penniless and take away access to hospitals in their locality.

    This government cares so much about children that the ISPCC, such a vital organisation for kids in this country, receives less than 10% government funding. Never mind the foster care situation…http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0701/hiqa.html

    Another reaction prompted by a speech writer – we don’t need jumped up speeches, we need action.

    How many reports will we have to go through before there is some level of justice for those who were victims of child sex abuse?

    1. Fat Frog

      Good point potatohead, you are right of course. And there is the small matter of the children’s rights referendum. I still think it was an excellent speech- he gave it to the Vatican with both barrels.

  13. Liam Tighe

    Always suspected that Enda Kenny was going to be a great Taoiseach and now he is starting to show that he is head and shoulders above every other Taoiseach we have had for years. Great Speech and he demonstrated he is not tipping his hat to Rome.

    1. Gabriel Rodriguez

      Hold yer horses…

      One swallow doesn’t make a Spring. Or something like that.

  14. Paul

    I’m struggling to think of a better speech given by an Irish politician. He will be judged by his actions though, and rightly so.

    1. Mollymac

      True, but it is amazing to hear an Irish politician take on the Catholic church in no uncertain fashion. Even as a child, I had difficulty taking the Church seriously: they always said do as I say not what I do

  15. Jimmy no tummy

    Didn’t think I would see in my lifetime a speech by an Irish government condemning anything the catholic church did with such clarity. Amazing. Maybe we might be growing up a little. Just a little though….we still have the Angelus ringing on our national station. its still Catholic tv and Catholic fm around here.

  16. Kevin McGee

    This is the greatest Irish speech of modern times. The only contender I can think of in the last twenty years is the speech Mayor Harrington made in front of the Clintons in Limerick. This is bigger than that, partly because it comes from the head of our government – a government which is giving me the weird and novel feeling of pride in the people who rule us.

    Broadsheet dudes and dudesses: because I know you care perhaps too deeply about these things, I should point out that you have misspelt “supersede” and “wilful”.

  17. Debra Hoyle

    Will the state legislate laws so children who were abducted and forcibly adopted out, can access their records and be reunited with their real birth families. Will the government quickly and fairly ensure that families are given the proper support, legal aid, and compensation from both government and church state. Will the state jail priests and nuns who abused people both sexually, physically and mentally, now, not decades in the future. When this happens I and I’m sure many others will then truly believe that the government is tackling these issues, not just making speeches and blowing hot air, the government is guilty of collusion with the roman catholic church in these issues, prove it is a new day with actions not just words.!!!

  18. InkTonic

    Would recommend Enda to put an ad in his local newspaper seeking the services of a food taster or two.

      1. W. Marris.

        As many others have noticed, the words are populist and rousing, but no mention of arrests or criminal charges. No mention of closing down the church, total omission of any governmental response whatsoever, so it`s business as usual at the grand papal order of black frocks of buggerall,.

        1. Kevin McGee

          “Minister Shatter is bringing forward two pieces of legislation…”? I understand your cynicism, and would normally share it, but in this case it is misplaced.

          As to the charge of populism, do you really think any spin doctors would really have advised a politician who is already popular to launch a carnivorous assault on the Pope? How secular do you think Ireland is?

          Kenny has been both brave and considered here, and he should be supported.

          1. IrelandGuy

            I agree with Kevin, I am very cynical when it comes to politicians, frankly I tend to always dismiss any promises they make.

            For once I applaud an Irish politician for using the public platform to take a stand that is in the best interest of the people.

            I am *proud* of the taoiseach for the first time in my life.

  19. Clarke d'Hazarde

    It is entirely right and proper that this satirical news churner carry this speech in full with no hint of irony because it is so important and in fact is proof that some things are beyond parody.

  20. Spaghetti Hoop

    At last a Taoiseach is actually voicing my views, and those of all good-willing Irish citizens, right there in the Dáil. Good one Enda.

  21. Jaysus

    It used to be that Irish politicians were always trembling in fear of a belt from the crozier… now they are hitting back. About feckin time!

  22. eileen ryan

    A great speech, possibly the first one to show the real independence of this country.

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