Northern Ireland

Bishop Noel Treanor apologises to Ian Elliot and withdraws comments

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor
Image caption Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said he had written to Ian Elliott "withdrawing, and apologising for, an earlier assertion"

The Bishop of Down and Connor has apologised for an accusation he made against the head of the Catholic Church's child protection watchdog.

The Sunday Times reported that Bishop Noel Treanor made a complaint that Ian Elliott was briefing journalists against the Catholic Church hierarchy.

An investigation was carried out and a report cleared Mr Elliott of the allegations.

Dr Treanor said he accepted the findings of the report.

A statement, issued by the Down and Connor Diocese on behalf of Dr Treanor said: "The matter which arose between the diocese and the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCI) was a procedural matter, which required attention.

"It did not in any way affect or interfere with safeguarding practice.

"Matters were brought to my attention by third parties and were then informally raised with the national board.

"The national board instigated a formal complaints procedure."

Dr Treanor said the issues he had raised were "rooted in my genuine concern for the well-being of victims affected by abuse".

"I have accepted the findings of the report and continue to work effectively with the NBSCCI towards our common objective of safeguarding children.

"I support the work of Ian Elliott, his staff and the board and I look forward to continuing our collaborative working relationship.

"I wrote to Ian Elliott withdrawing, and apologising for, an earlier assertion.

"We have moved on from this and we met at the beginning of the summer to discuss how we continue to work towards our common goal, the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults."

Dr Treanor said his overriding concern as Bishop of Down and Connor was and would continue to be the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in both the diocese and throughout Ireland.

A spokesperson for the NBSCCI refused to comment.

Dr Treanor is regarded by some as a possible successor to Cardinal Sean Brady as the Archbishop of Armagh, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

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