My experience with Dublin has been as perfect as I can imagine.The data officer, Noelle Dowling has been the essence professionalism, courtesy and efficiency. She is the kind of data officer every diocese should have.In addition Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who has been personally involved in my request has shown total transparency and integrity.Because Clonliffe seminary minutes are held in bound volumes they are not covered by GDPR regulations.But Diarmuid Martin instructed Noelle to send ne them anyway.Here is transparency beyond the letter of the law and embracing the spirit of the law. I sent DM the following email today:

Dear Diarmuid,

Noelle Dowling, on your instructions, sent me a transcript of the Clonliffe seminary Council meetings where I was mentioned even though bound volumes are not covered by GDPR.

I want to thank you for your total transparency in these matters

If course I had already come to the conclusion of your transparency and integrity on the basis of your handing over of the diocesan abuse files to the courts and on your handling of the Maynooth and Irish College issues.

But I do need to thank you.

Mind you, reading those minutes made me cringe at my immaturity at the time. My only consolation is that you would expect 1970 18 / 19 year olds to be immature.

Importantly to me,I was pleased that the Clonliffe president Bishop Joe Carroll reported that morally, I was beyond reproach.

Now that I have all the information I have I can understand that my expulsion from Clonliffe was done in good faith.


For 47 years I did not know the reasons for my expulsion from Clonliffe. Today I do.I was expelled because they felt I was immature. They saw this immaturity in me showing itself in me giving spiritual advice to younger seminarians, reporting homosexuality in a youth club I had a placement in and not observing house rules. It also seemed that there were a small number of senior seminarians who regarded me as unsuitable to be involved in open vocation days.At the time there were 120 of us in Clonliffe. Seminarians were ten a penny and one or two were expelled every year in order to straighten up the troops. The other fellow expelled with me that year was expelled for being too pious.Anyway, I believe in Providence and therefore I believe that God had a part in it all. God knows what I would have become if I stayed in the RCC?And its better to be expelled for giving spiritual guidance to the 1st years than being kept in and taking the 1st years to bed!

WATERFORDI applied to Phonsie’s data officer Michelle O’Riordan.Surprisingly for me, Phonsie’s girl also operated transparency and I got my whole file from St. John’s College Waterford – 1973 – 1976.The file is very positive and of course I got on well there and was put forward for ordination.There was a glowing report from the PP in Cardiff I had done my diaconate placement with – Canon Philip Dwyer.

Page 3 – pic not uploading”priests of today are doing their best to do away with the collar and appear in all kinds of fancy clothing, some go as far as saying the collar will be done away with all together. Pat Buckley is not of this opinion and this tradition should be emphasised to him in his final months with you”

My email to Phonsie

Dear Phonsie,I doubt if you and I will ever be on each others Christmas card lists.But I wanted to commend and thank you for the transparency I experienced when I applied to your data protection officer when I applied for my stored data at Waterford.My years in Waterford and St John’s were among the happiest of my life.John Shine was one of the best friends I ever had.Pat

SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST REFERENCE: DP/SAR/B1/19I confirm that we have carried out a search within the Diocesan records and archives and I have endeavoured to identify information held which directly or indirectly relates to you and therefore, may fall within the remit of a subject access request. I have prepared the following table to summarise my enquiries: –


Dear Data Access,

I am happy to receive the documents from section one scanned.

I have received data from two other Irish diocese and they contained all my correspondence with the bishop and archbishop!

Can I ask you for FULL disclosure please?

I reserve the right to appeal to the Data Commioner.

Bishop Pat Buckley



Alleged child abusers to be allowed interview complainants‘Serious concern’ new Tusla guidelines overly weighted in favour of accused

The new policy guidelines, a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Times, are set to come into force in June, and Tusla social workers are currently receiving training in their implementation.

People under investigation for child abuse, including sexual abuse, will be permitted to personally interview their alleged victims in certain circumstances under new Tusla investigatory procedures.Child protection experts have expressed serious concern that the guidelines, which are contained in the Tusla’s new Child Abuse Substantiation Procedures, are overly weighted in favour of the rights of alleged abusers and risk “re-traumatising”alleged victims of abuse.The new policy guidelines, a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Times, are set to come into force in June, and Tusla social workers are currently receiving training in their implementation.

The introduction of the guidelines follows several legal cases brought against Tusla by individuals investigated over abuse allegations who claim their rights were breached by the agency.Social workers must “stress test” allegations when interviewing complainants, the guidelines state, including by asking if there may be an “alternative explanation” or “misinterpretation on their part” in relation to the allegations.Facilitate suspectsIn some cases social workers should facilitate suspects to “stress test” the allegations themselves by personally questioning complainants or witnesses.


Guidelines for investigating abuse ‘horrifying’, says survivorLegal fears overshadow victims in new Tusla guidelinesOver 200 gardaí begin cybercrime training to speed up online child abuse investigationsIf the complainant is still a child or is a “vulnerable adult”, it would be “generally” inappropriate for them to be questioned by their alleged abuser, the guidelines state.

Tusla defended the guidelines on Monday, stating they were drafted to comply with emerging case law and court directions “in this complex legal area”.

If direct questioning is judged inappropriate, other forms of “stress testing” should be considered, including allowing the suspect to write out questions to be put to the complainant, allowing their solicitor to question the complainant or allowing the suspect to ask questions via videolink.

In some cases a suspect may be allowed to be in the room while questions are put by a social worker, the guidelines state. “Consider using a screen to separate the complainant or witness who is being questioned.”

Tusla staff are instructed that the identity of the alleged victim should be disclosed to the suspect at an early stage, even in cases where the “complainant is at serious risk from the [alleged abuser].

”In most cases alleged abusers should be allowed to tell their employers or partners that they are under investigation before Tusla does so.

In cases not involving “immediate serious risk” to children, the rights of the accused must take precedence over the need to inform third parties of abuse allegations, the guidelines state.

Tusla social workers tasked with substantiating allegations of child abuse should also consider the impact their findings could have on an alleged abuser, including the impact on their employment prospects, their family or on childcare proceedings they are involved in, the document states.

Tusla defended the guidelines on Monday, stating they were drafted to comply with emerging case law and court directions “in this complex legal area”.Alleged abusers are constitutionally entitled “to fair procedure and due process” and Tusla’s guidelines are in line with best practice, a spokeswoman said.


Allowing abusers to question their victims!

The first thought about that is shock!

Could this not be more abuse?

Imagine letting Brendan Smyth question the children he abused?

Imagine letting Maciel question the priests, seminarians and children he abused?

I’m glad they are more or less ruling it out in the case of children and vulnerable adults.

But some victims suffer the fear of running into their abuser all their lives.

Could recovering victims not be sent right back into trauma?

I know there are regular false allegations and miscarriages of justice.

But the police question the victims.

Social workers and other professionals question them.

The victims can be crossexamined in court by the accused’s lawyers.

Do we need another layer of questioning?

What do readers think?