Following is the statement from Fr Anthony Walsh O.P. Prior Provincial of the Dominican Fathers in Australia and New Zealand following media publicity about child sexual abuse by the late Michael Shirres.
“The Dominican Friars, and myself as Provincial, express our deep sorrow and heartfelt apology to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of Michael Shirres’ actions and the betrayal of the trust placed in him by his victims and their families. They have been subjected to this terrible experience by Michael Shirres whom they had an absolute right to expect integrity, decency and impeccable behaviour. This abuse will also have had an impact on the members of the Shirres family.
“These victims have shown great courage in coming forward in 1992 and telling their stories. I encourage any other victims of Michael Shirres to come forward (National Office for Professional Standards, ph. 03 365 1993). We are committed to provide whatever assistance, healing and hope we can to those who have suffered so badly. Since the matter had come to light in 1992, the Dominican Friars have provided counselling support as well as agreed assistance in helping to rebuild the lives of the victims who have come forward. The shame of the pubic revelation of Michael Shirres’ crimes only deepens our resolve.”
Rev Anthony Walsh O.P.