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This is a transcript of a statement by Joanne McCarthy outside the commission yesterday afternoon.

“I am pleased to have assisted this special commission in its inquiry into the NSW police force’s handling of the alleged failure of the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese to disclose the offending of paedophile priest Denis McAlinden. This became known as Strike Force Lantle.

I have the highest confidence in the commission’s staff, and thank them for their support.

I am looking forward with interest to the next stage of this inquiry, scheduled to start next week, which is an historic, timely and necessary investigation into how the Catholic Church handled allegations of child sex abuse by clergy in the Hunter Region.

As difficult as inquiries into these kinds of issues can be, they are important issues. It is worth noting that some of the most significant media investigations, and police prosecutions involving Catholic clergy in Australia, have occurred in the Hunter Region.

JOANNE MCCARTHY

I am very pleased [that] we have a federal royal commission and we have this inquiry looking into specific issues in the Hunter Region . . . on the back of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry which has really exposed to the Australian public the very real differences between what the Catholic Church has said in the past about how it deals with these matters, and what it actually has done behind the scenes with the victims and their families who have had to deal with the Church on their own.

I think that’s the issue: as a community we are really becoming aware of the perspectives of the victims and their families on this issue, and how they have been left on their own. The reality of what they have to deal with will now be known.”

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