Daily Advertiser letters to the editor, September 20

ABOVE REPROACH: A letter writer takes umbrage with an editorial suggesting Bishop Gerard Hanna could have done more to rein in paedophile priest John Farrell.

ABOVE REPROACH: A letter writer takes umbrage with an editorial suggesting Bishop Gerard Hanna could have done more to rein in paedophile priest John Farrell.

Actions above reproach

YOUR editorial of Saturday, September 17 concerning Bishop Hanna puts a doubt in readers’ minds about the appropriateness of the bishop’s actions in dealing with paedophile priest John Farrell.

I wish to dispel that doubt and assert Bishop Hanna’s actions were above reproach and his actions, within the powers he had, were exemplary.

I followed the witness statements live on the Royal Commission website, including Bishop Hanna’s testimony under oath. 

Bishop Hanna was administrator of St Nicholas’ Parish in East Tamworth from 1983 to 1993. At the time he was known as Father Hanna.

John Farrell, currently serving a lengthy jail term for crimes of sexual abuse against boys, was ordained a priest in September 1981. His first appointment was to the parish of Moree. 

Allegations about John Farrell abusing boys surfaced in his years at Moree and he was removed from the parish and sent to work at St Nicholas Parish in July 1984, against Fr Hanna’s wishes.

At this time, the alleged abuse was known to priests in Moree but no details of the allegations were given to Fr Hanna.

He was simply told by the-then bishop that Farrell had to be moved and he should be kept under close supervision regarding young boys.

Bishop Hanna’s testimony to the Royal Commission indicates he carried out supervision of Farrell in an assiduous manner and notified other significant persons about the need to keep a close eye on Farrell in relation to young boys.

He was not allowed to go to the school, celebrate school masses and could have no dealings with the altar boys.

In 1987, Farrell was arrested and charged with offences relating to the alleged abuse in Moree.  

These charges were taken to a committal hearing and were dismissed by the court.

Following his arrest in 1987, Farrell was stood down by Fr Hanna from all priestly duties. He was transferred out of Tamworth soon after the charges against him were dismissed.

From that time, Fr Hanna had no jurisdiction over Farrell and only occasionally encountered him at clergy gatherings.

Any fair-minded person reading the transcript of Bishop Hanna’s testimony under oath could only have a positive view of the bishop’s behaviour and his efforts to safeguard the children within his jurisdiction.

Your editorial’s comment in the last paragraph, however, can be fairly and rightly applied to others within the church hierarchy who failed to remove Farrell from a position where he could have access to children.

Doug Sutton

Lake Albert

Hospital sale a farce

AFTER the old Gundagai Hospital was passed in at auction and then put on the market, Adrian Sykes and I met with the agent for two inspections and put in an offer for $120,000.

We had met with council and discussed our plan to house refugees.

Our offer was rejected and we were amazed to find it had been sold shortly after for $110,000. We continue to be amazed with what has recently transpired.

Jan Giles

Gundagai

Dogged by injustice

SO, THE NSW government is going to ban greyhound racing on the basis of a flawed report which says that only about 10 per cent of trainers were guilty of using live animals to blood their dogs.

This means the other 90 per cent of trainers who were not involved in the practice are being punished for doing the right thing.

Colin Field

Gundagai

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