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Clerical child-abuse figures in Ireland

30 March 2010


From the Revd Douglas Caffyn

Sir, — Paul Vallely’s statement that “The idea that the priesthood contains a disproportionate number of paedophiles is not borne out by the facts” (Comment, 26 March) should not pass unchallenged.

He stated that “5.8 per cent of boys who had been abused had suffered at the hands of priests or religious figures.” There are in Ireland about 5000 priests in a total population of four million. That is a male population of two million. Priests comprise about 0.25 per cent of the total male population, or about 0.3 per cent of men of priestly age. Thus a priest was about 20 times (5.8 divided by 0.3) as likely to be an abuser as a layman.

Until the Church recognises this fact, the problem will not be solved.

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