Within hours of the Gardai and Proseecution Service deciding not to prosecute Kirby over his sexual advances towards Dom Benedict Andersen Tom Deenihan withdraws all canonical charges against the whistleblower!

So, the whistle-blower has done nothing wrong.

Then why is he cast out of his monastery and forced to live 3,000 miles away from it with very little financial support and depending on his family?

The truth is that his only “crime” was speaking out about Kirby’s sexual advances towards him.

He had no option but to speak out as no one within the Church was willing to listen to him and act.

To this day he fully stands over his statement that Kirby was targeting him sexually.

And Kirby has history with this behaviour everywhere he has lived.


Dear Bishop Deenihan,

In light of my posting on today’s blog, I was contacted by an individual who provided me with some interesting insights about Silverstream and Dom Mark Kirby. He suggested that the recent posting on the website of Silverstream Priory has arisen from the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to charge Dom Mark Kirby, OSB. Is that an accurate summation of the facts?

However, I was also contacted by one of the priests of the Diocese of Meath, who informs me that it was YOU, Bishop Deenihan that referred Dom Mark Kirby to An Garda Síochána; it was NOT Dom Benedict Andersen, the Silverstream whistleblower. Is this true?

The first caller who is not a priest told me that it is possible for people with standing to submit a “Request for a Summary of Reasons” to the Director of Public Prosecutions to understand their decision-making not to prosecute Dom Kirby. I imagine this includes you, Bishop Deenihan, and Dom Anderson. Is this correct?

Upon receipt of this request by the DPP, a lawyer within its “Victims Liaison Unit” will write to the individual(s) giving a summary of the reasons that informed its reasoning not to prosecute Dom Kirby. The Office of DPP advertises this will usually occur within twenty-eight (28) days. Thereafter, it is open the complainant(s) to seek a review of the decision of the DPP not to prosecute Dom Kirby.

Such a review (if requested) will be carried out by a lawyer who was not involved in reviewing the evidence against Dom Kirby in accordance with the “Guidelines for Prosecutors”. If, and when a review has been completed, the reviewing lawyer will then write to the individuals with their decision. It is stated that a review will normally be completed within six (6) weeks of a request. But, in light of the pandemic, it is not unreasonable to suspect that there could be a conspicuous delay. Thereafter, on the outcome of the DPP’s review, the option would be open to the complainants to seek to Judicially Review the decision-making of the DPP, however, that is unlikely but it is important to keep all options on the table.

Bishop Deenihan, I need not remind you that the alleged actions of Dom Mark Kirby, OSB, towards Dom Benedict Andersen, OSB, adequately satisfied the threshold of sexual harassment. However, the actions were sufficiently serious for the police spent a conspicuous amount of time investigating the allegations.

We do not know what informed the decision-making of the DPP, however, we can legitimately speculate that the decision not to prosecute was possibly predicated on the grounds of Kirby’s known ill-health.

The caller highlighted that the alleged actions of Dom Kirby (supported by written evidence) were tortious, and moreover, they are actionable before the civil courts in Ireland. Thus, he left me with the impression that it is open to Dom Andersen to initiate civil proceedings against: i) Dom Kirby; and, ii) vicariously against the Diocese of Meath; because, a) there exists a sufficient relationship between the tortfeasor (Kirby) and the defendant (Diocese of Meath) and, b) there is also a sufficient connection between that relationship and the tortious conduct. It could be interesting times for the Diocese of Meath should this matter come before the civil courts. I, of course, would be happy to give evidence if I was invited to do so upon receipt of a subpoena. Consequently, it may-be the case that an Irish court room is the appropriate and most suitable forum for these matters to be appropriately ventilated.

As Lord Phillips, the President of the Supreme Court United Kingdom remarked in Various Claimants v Catholic Child Welfare Society “The law of vicarious liability is on the move”. In light of advice received from counsel in Dublin, Catholic Child Welfare Society is a sound statement of legal principle that can be called in aid before an Irish Court. In the judgment of the Irish Supreme Court in Hickey v McGowan, the Court clearly stated that “the close connection test must be taken to represent the law in Ireland”. The Irish case was one where vicarious ability was imposed on an employer for acts of sexual abuse perpetrated by an employee. There is a clear direction of travel that can be pursued.

As you are aware, the burden of proof in a civil case is conspicuously lower than a criminal matter. In light of the known misbehaviour of Dom Kirby before his arrival in Ireland and the failure of the Diocese of Meath in the person of your predecessor, Bishop Michael Smith to undertake the most basic background checks; the optics look appalling.

In conclusion, Bishop Deenihan, would you agree with my suggestion that the statement on the website of Silverstream Priory was deeply imprudent, ill-advised? You would also accept that it would be imprudent for the Diocese of Meath the think just because the first decision of the DPP would appear to be favourable towards Dom Kirby, a second review could beget a different decision? And, if that is the case it will be another marker on a saga that shows no sign of abating any time soon.

With prayerful best wishes,

  • Pat Buckley