WelCom August 2018:
Following media reports in July 2018 about historical abuse claims involving Dominican priest, the late Michael Shirres op, WelCom contacted the Provincial of the Dominican Province for New Zealand and Australia, Fr Anthony Walsh op. Fr Anthony has provided the following statement.
The abuse committed by Michael Shirres will have had a devastating effect on his victims, their families and their friends.
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 to the New Zealand National Office for Professional Standards, phone (03) 365-1993 or (09) 442-2274.
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 settlements for the victims who have come forward. The shame of the public revelation of Michael Shirres’ crimes only deepens our resolve.