The following is a statement released on 8th February 2024 by the Irish Jesuit Province:

The Irish Jesuit Order has welcomed the publication of a narrative record of the abuse perpetrated by Fr Joseph Marmion SJ on students in Jesuit schools. Fr Joseph Marmion SJ. His abuse, the harm caused and Jesuit accountability: A narrative record details how the Jesuit Order dealt with the allegations of abuse and the response of particular Jesuits from the time the first allegation of child sexual abuse was made until the present day. Click here to read »

The narrative has been compiled on behalf of the Joint Past Pupils – Jesuit Steering Group, comprised of representatives of past pupils and of the Jesuit Order. A key objective of their work was to have the experiences of past pupils who were abused by Fr Joseph Marmion SJ ‘heard, acknowledged and validated’. Noting this, the Irish Jesuit Provincial Shane Daly SJ expressed his gratitude to the Past Pupils Steering Committee for making this possible:

“I thank you sincerely for your commitment and for the huge amount of work you put into the compiling and writing of this report.  You have honoured the experience of past pupils who were horrifically abused by a Jesuit priest and teacher, and you have done so with integrity, sensitivity, and justice. I am also aware of the past pupils who had the courage and generosity to share their experience, at times I am sure, at great personal cost. To those past pupils also I say a profound ‘thank you.’ Your accounts are harrowing, the lasting effects of Fr Marmion’s abuse are shocking, the enormity of it is hard to read and absorb.”

Fr Daly acknowledged that holding the Order to account for its many failures regarding the pupils who were abused by Joseph Marmion SJ was a crucial part of the narrative. Referencing a quotation by his predecessor Fr Leonard Moloney SJ at the beginning of the narrative record Fr Daly SJ said, “I am glad this quote is at the forefront of the document and I endorse those words and sentiments which I want to repeat again publicly.”

“As Jesuits we are ashamed of our own failures – failure to allow the truth to be told, failure to admit to the wrong that had occurred, and failure to create earlier opportunities for you to receive the vindication you sought, deserved and needed, as a result of your experiences of Fr Marmion SJ. I apologise for our delay in creating a context in which you could receive the acknowledgement that was justly yours, and the care to which we, as a Christian community aspire in our lives and mission.”

For many years, the Jesuits have sought to respond in an open and compassionate manner to people bringing forward their complaint of child abuse. The realisation that there are people who have been waiting a long time to receive a message from the Jesuits is a humbling learning. It is our hope that we have created a space whereby people who were hurt by abuse can feel safe in coming forward to us.  We hope that our messages will reach those people we want to reach by better communicating what people can expect should they decide to contact us. These are some of the responses that are available to those harmed by Jesuits:

  • The Safeguarding Office has professional laypersons who work at the pace of the individual making the disclosure of their experience, and exploring with them what their needs and wishes are.
  • Information is shared as openly as possible if individuals have questions arising from their experience.
  • Sometimes a person wishes to meet with a Jesuit, often the Provincial, and receive an acknowledgment or an apology. Such a meeting is facilitated at the right time for the person who has come forward.
  • Counselling and psychotherapy is funded by the Jesuits.

Fr Shane Daly wishes “to invite any person who was harmed by any Jesuit to consider speaking with us. We really want to hear from you.”

Another learning taken is that the naming of Joseph Marmion made the difference in enabling many people to finally speak about their abuse both to the Jesuits and others. Fr Daly says that on foot of the naming of Joseph Marmion a further 87 past pupils contacted the Jesuit Safeguarding Office.

In July 2021 in the document “Joseph Marmion – the Jesuit Response”, Fr Leonard Moloney stated, “Joseph Marmion is not the only Irish Jesuit to have inflicted these kinds of abuse on children or to have exploited his position of power and responsibility for his own sordid ends.”

Given the benefit that naming has had, Fr Daly has decided that further naming must take place.

He has now engaged an independent, three-person Working Group to consider and advise upon the standards to be applied by the Jesuit Order when deciding to publicly name a deceased Jesuit who is the subject of child sexual abuse allegations. The Working Group will also make recommendations about those Jesuits to whom these standards apply and they will be named by the Order.

The Working Group is composed of Paul Harrison, Rosaleen McElvaney and John MacMenamin. Paul Harrison is a social worker of over 40 years experience who has held practice and management positions in the HSE and Tusla. His work has encompassed childcare inquiries and organizational case reviews.  Rosaleen McElvaney is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, academic and author who has extensive experience working in specialist sexual abuse services within the public service in Ireland.  She has provided consultation on child protection and sexual abuse issues to many organisations. John MacMenamin, who will chair the Working Group, is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland.

Fr Daly says, “We want to name safely and responsibly and with the proper provisions and supports put in place. We also want to do it as quickly as possible and the Working Group hopes to have its recommendations completed by Autumn this year.”

There have also been other significant learnings for Jesuits during the restorative justice processes since the naming of Fr Marmion in 2021, according to the Provincial, who says, “Our commitment, unambiguously, is putting first those who have been abused. They are our central focus. We are committed to transparency, accountability, and atonement for all who engage with us in whatever way they choose. I make a renewed appeal to anyone who has any concerns or who has suffered abuse at the hands of any Jesuit to contact our Safeguarding Office by emailing: or by phoning our Jesuit Safeguarding Helpline PHONE: 00 353 830874254 (Opening hours Monday-Friday 8 AM to 8 PM; Saturday 10AM to 5 PM; Sunday 10 AM to 2PM).  If you do not want to contact the Order directly, you may of course contact Tusla and/or the Gardai.”

Marking the Spirit of the Narrative Record

“This narrative record interrogates our past so that we can move into the future implementing all the learnings of the last number of years,” says Fr Daly. “Along with the narrative record, it was agreed between the past pupils and the Jesuits that its spirit would also be marked symbolically. Sculptor John Coll has been commissioned by the Jesuits to sculpt a memorialising  work, a replica of which will be presented to Jesuit schools. The sculpture preserves and honours the memory of those who suffered abuse. It is also a reminder of the need for constant vigilance to ensure the safety and care that children and young people deserve as of right.”

Naming of deceased Jesuits: Fr Paul Andrews SJ and Fr Dermot Casey SJ

The narrative record, Fr Joseph Marmion SJ: His Abuse, the harm caused and Jesuit accountability, references Fr Paul Andrews SJ as being the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse in 1991. This complaint was repeated in 1994. Fr Andrews had an important role in the story of Jesuit failures in relation to Joseph Marmion SJ. He was the person to whom was made, in September 1977 the first known disclosure that Fr Marmion had sexually abused children.

Fr Andrews was Director of St Declan’s Special School from 1977 until the end of 1994. The Jesuit Order believes that it is necessary and right also to communicate that another deceased Jesuit, Fr Dermot Casey SJ, who was Fr Andrews’ predecessor as Director at the school (1958 -1977), has been the subject of 17 complaints of child sexual abuse. These complaints were received during the period 1975 to 2023 and relate to events dating from the 1950’s through to 1977.

This information is being provided now because of its importance to the present-day St Declan’s school community, to past pupils and their parents, and to many others with long connection to St Declan’s.