Bishop Noel Treanor will probably be best remembered for spending well over £1M on lavish upgrades to his Belfast residence, ‘Lisbreen’, on Somerton Road, over a third of the cost picked up by a generous Stormont grant in 2014.
Bishop Treanor may also be remembered for his poor relationship with the head of the Catholic church’s own child protection agency, Ian Elliott, to whom the Bishop had to publicly apologise back in 2012.
Two years later, the Bishop’s spat with Ian Elliott continued when Elliott threatened to sue Treanor over a diocesan child protection report which Elliott claimed omitted a serious case of clerical child abuse.
Following Bishop Treanor’s absolute refusal to give precise costings for his home upgrades and his apparent dislike of aspects of Ian Elliott’s activities investigating child abuse in the Catholic church, it came as a surprise that Bishop Treanor suddenly outed himself as an investigator of his own secret diocesan archives attempting to find information about British Army activities during the period of what came to be called “the Ballymurphy massacre”.
Apparently there was very little in the archives, but the brave Bishop nevertheless pulled out a few documents to present to relatives of the 11 Ballymurphy shooting victims, ably assisted by that IRA mastermind of 1,700 murders, Gerry Adams.
An initial search of the diocese’s normally secret archives yielded nothing of relevance, but a second widened search brought forth a few references which the good Bishop held aloft triumphantly and handed over.
If these normally secretive archives could be searched for evidence to be used in the prosecution of 11 potential British Army murders, how much more evidence might they yield of 1,700 IRA murders?
It is no secret that priests in the diocese of Down and Connor were constantly hearing and communicating information about members of the IRA – Irish government state files released in December 2017 showed that Catholic priests were not averse to meeting representatives of the government of the Irish Republic who were “gathering intelligence” in Belfast.
A former parish priest of Ballymurphy, Fr. Peter Forde, gave a number of briefings to Irish government official David Donoghue.
Unlike members of fairly independent religious orders, diocesan priests reported to their Bishops.
If Fr. Peter Forde was so open with an Irish government official gathering intelligence, how much more must he and his fellows have reported information to their Bishops over the years.
It is interesting that diocesan priest Fr. Forde pointedly mentioned Clonard Monastery as full of “wide-eyed Southern Redemptorists… less likely to ask the Provos [Gerry Adams] searching questions”.
Of course, the Belfast Brigade of the IRA was given a secret operational headquarters by the Clonard Redemptorist priests in 1971/1972 – and this fact and many thousands of other pieces of information must have made their way into the diocesan archives via reports from scores of diocesan priests with their ears to the ground.
If Bishop Treanor was moved to scour the archives to try to help bring justice to the relatives of 11 victims of the British Army, why has he not been moved to scour the same archives to try to bring justice to 1,700 victims of the IRA?
The IRA murdered 154 times as many victims as were murdered in Ballymurphy – is the good Bishop not moved to search out information leading to justice for the 1,700 victims of the IRA?
Will he open the archives to those willing to search out that information about the IRA’s activities in his diocese?
Note that Bishop Treanor ended his “Anderstonstown News” report with the “Sinn Féin-speak” of carefully avoiding any Catholic reference to the IRA’s murders and bombings as ‘sins’ or as actions requiring anything as objectionable as the Catholic church’s notions of ‘repentance’ or ‘confession’ – no, the good Bishop uttered his final words referencing only an alleged magical cure-all of a repentance-free and confession-free
“mechanism of investigation into these and other events of the Troubles sufficiently efficient, robust and independent to contribute to a meaningful healing of memory and to a vindication of the truth for individuals”
‘Events of the Troubles‘?
They were MURDERS, Noel, and BOMBINGS!
You got one of those very investigation mechanisms in the Catholic church’s own National Board for Safeguarding Children, Noel and you didn’t appear to like it or its Chief Executive, Ian Elliott!
What a sell-out of the Gospels and their call to individual repentance!
For an article about the Catholic church’s new cosy relationship with the IRA, see here.
For an article about Catholic priests who joined or supported the IRA, see here.