He called children sent to Daingean reformatory school unwanted ruffians while saying Sunday's mass. Now aside from the insensitivity required to sermonise about this topic in such a derogatory way only weeks after the publication of Ryan report containing accounts of the rape and torture that happened to the children at Daingean and the proximity of the former prison camp to the church, Coonan believes he eat his words by "not remembering" them.
If he genuinely doesn't remember then perhaps it is time for retirement, to say the least. On the other hand, the more likely scenario, is that he is trying to weasel his way out of a political awkward situation.
It baffles me why Coonan, in common with politicians and other public figures, think that the public believes them for a second. Nah you can't retcon the public. Epic fail.
“And in an aside I said not all the boys sent there were angels. Now if that caused offence to people I regret it and I withdraw. And I totally and utterly condemn all the abuse that happened.”
Then was the unkindest cut of all. Coonan gave a non-apology apology - the ultimate in false rhetoric and refusal to take responsibility for one's actions. It's the rhetorical equivalent of stealing a wallet and saying upon capture, "I'm sorry if you felt you were inconvenienced".
Classic use of the conditional in your apology, father. It gives the perfect tone of insincerity - Now if that caused offence to people I regret it and I withdraw. The use of if puts the responsibility on the offended party rather than on the offending because it implies that the offended party is making a big deal over nothing, being too sensitive, "hysterical" or a special little snowflake. To paraphrase Coonan
"if YOU were offended then I regret that you heard me using that word"
It's mealy-mouthed, dishonest, insincere, shows poor judgment and a lack of sensitivity that is almost beyond belief.
Another classic for the Catholic church!