Northern Ireland’s Historical Abuse Inquiry (HIA) have commenced their module in focusing on notorious paedophile priest FR Brendan Smyth.
Smyth was ordained in the 1940’s and was one of the first priests who was outed as a paedophile and was at the centre of clerical child sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in the 1990’s.
Smyth admitted his crimes to a doctor in 1994, the same year he was jailed. He said: “Over the years of religious life, it could be that I have sexually abused 50-100 children, that number could even be doubled or perhaps more”.
He was convicted of indecently assaulting 74 children in the republic of Ireland and 43 children in Northern Ireland. He died from a heart attack in prison in 1997.
Some of the abuse took place in in care homes which were run by religious orders.
At it’s opening session in Banbridge, Co. Down this morning, the inquiry heard that the priest abused hundreds of children over several decades.
Retired archbishop of Armagh, cardinal Sean Brady is to give evidence on Thursday.
Smyth’s abuse has already been descried by a number of witnesses who have previously given evidence to the inquiry.
This weeks module will concentrate on on examination of what opportunities there were to prevent Smyth carrying out the abuse of children and the inquiry panel will consider whether any action or inaction amounted to systematic failings.