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Statement of Mary McCloskey on the death of her son Peter McCloskey

It is with deep sadness and immense grief that I am here to speak the truth for Peter, following his final battle with Dr. Donal Murray, Bishop of Limerick and the Diocesan legal representatives. The only way in which Peter can finally achieve justice in death is for those living with his death to bear witness to the truth. It was the unbearable weight of the denial of the truth that became too much for Peter; that denial must end.

I believe the actions of the Limerick Diocese are directly responsible for Peterís death. Where Christian charity, humanity and the love of Christ were called for, Peter encountered a litigious response, denial of liability, bare faced lies and was threatened with being sued for libel and legal costs. My son Peter paid those costs with his life.

I am Mary McCloskey, Peterís mother.

Peter needs a voice and I will be that voice. Peter died for the truth. Honesty was very important to him and the grave will not and must not, silence that truth. Peter was scrupulously honest in his fight for truth and justice with the church. My sonís good name and reputation must be vindicated. Peter paid too high a price for the truth he held so dearly.

Peter was my blond curly haired baby with big brown eyes. I loved Peter, cared for and nurtured him, wanting the very best for him in life. He was outgoing, vivacious and had a great sense of humour.†

Peter suffered Clerical Sexual Abuse at ten years of age. I was unaware of the abuse at the time it occurred in the 1980s and for many years afterwards, that abuse affected Peter in a most serious way and caused him untold emotional and psychological suffering. This suffering continued through his teenage years, into his adulthood and up to the day he died.

As a mother, I acknowledge that I encountered serious behavioural and discipline difficulties with Peter over those years. I now realise that my response to Peter was wholly inadequate, despite my sincere and best efforts at the time. However, I had no idea of what I was dealing with, in terms of the abuse suffered by Peter at the hands of Fr. Denis Daly. I am devastated that my response in those years added to Peterís pain, isolation and suffering.

Peter confided in me about the Clerical Sexual Abuse in the autumn of 2002. Initially, I found it difficult to comprehend and to take the reality of the abuse on board. As a family, we have been steadfastly faithful to the Roman Catholic Church, believing in its Priests and not accepting that Priests would behave in such a heinous way. Our faith was important to us in many ways, it was to that faith we looked to understand and get through difficult times for our family. It is tragic that in our struggles to understand Peterís torment we looked to our faith, we did not appreciate that the church was the source of his pain, our faithfulness must have isolated Peter even more.

From the time Peter told me about his childhood experiences of Clerical Sexual Abuse, I told him that I believed him and that I would support him.

Knowing about the abuse he suffered explained for me the problems and upheaval in Peterís life. Before this, I had never understood the root cause of his distress.

As a mother, I am responsible for failing to protect my son from the most evil crime that can be perpetrated upon a child. I was proud of Peter being an Altar-Boy and he was faithful and loyal to the church in serving mass every morning before school and on Sunday. I believed my little boy to be in a good place and safe from all harm, while in the Church. The Church, in which my family believed so strongly, has betrayed my trust and violated my innocent child.

The Church knew of Fr. Denis Dalyís paedophilic behaviour over a thirty year period, before he came to Caherdavin Parish. Despite this, Fr. Denis Daly was dispatched from Australia to America, from there to England, and then on to Ireland. My little boy Peter had the tragic misfortune to be an Altar-Boy, placing him in harms way.

It is a source of very deep distress to me that for all of those years I failed to recognise the signs and symptoms of what was going on in Peterís life. I now have my own demons to live with. I hope Peter will look lovingly on me from his place of peace.

In more recent times, my interactions with Peter demonstrated to me how very deep the scars left by Clerical Sexual Abuse ran within him.

Over the last few years, Peter and I reached a fresh understanding in our relationship. I enjoyed the time we spent together. When we had dinner together in the evenings, we had great fun and banter over the table. He acknowledged my support and once he accepted that I was sincere, he never again rehearsed the hurts of the years to me; having being believed he no longer needed to battle to be heard by me.

A further harm caused by Peters having been so violated as a child has been the untold hurt, deep wounds and misunderstandings amongst us as a family. Peter often felt isolated and abandoned by us. Sadly and with deep regret it took Peterís death for some of us, to believe the Church had been so wrong.

As Peterís mother, I have been ignored and snubbed by individual Priests. I believe that this happened because of the allegations made by Peter.

Having watched Prime Time last Thursday, I now fully understand the ďStone WallĒ Peter fought in Dr. Donal Murray, Bishop of Limerick and his Diocesan legal team.

The Diocesan Delegation at the Mediation Meeting on 30th March included a senior Priest of the Diocese and a Religious Sister. In their role as Religious Persons at that meeting, I believe they did not extend to Peter the love of Jesus Christ approaching the feast of Easter. My son Peter has been denied compassion, humanity and basic dignity by the Diocese of Limerick. †

Dr. Donal Murray, Bishop of Limerick and his legal representatives had Peter nailed to the Cross well in advance of Good Friday. I vehemently reject the comment by Bishop Donal Murray and Fr. Paul Finnerty on Prime Time, that they walked the journey with my son Peter, in their Pastoral Care. Peter walked his journey without any sincere support from the Diocese.

It was obvious to me and all the supporters who have contacted me since the Prime Time programme that Fr. Paul Finnerty falsely represented the facts. He was never a support to Peter as Diocesan Secretary. He never even met Peter.

I ask that Bishop Donal Murray now examine his conscience. In a vain attempt to protect his own image he has misrepresented the facts and misled the people he was ordained to serve. He failed to show proper Christian love or even basic humanity to my son. †I believe if he examines his conscience with real honesty he will realise that he must now step down from his position. He must allow a man who can bring integrity to the office of the Bishop of Limerick to take his place.

Nothing can now wipe away the pain that Peter suffered throughout his life, but justice through the truth that he valued more than life itself, can be testament to his memory. My little boy deserved better and I will continue to try to reconcile with my own failure to protect him and to respond to his hurt as a child. In closing I want to make it clear that I believe Peterís death was entirely preventable. Had he been met by those purporting to speak for my faith with respect, love and compassion I believe he would be with us still.

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