Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Priest faces sex abuse inquiry

Bishop Leo O'Reilly confirmed a parish priest is the subject of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse
Bishop Leo O'Reilly confirmed a parish priest is the subject of an investigation into alleged sexual abuse

A Catholic priest has stepped aside while an allegation of sexual abuse is investigated.

Bishop Leo O'Reilly, of the border diocese of Kilmore, said gardai are aware of the complaint against the parish priest, which is said to date back a number of years.

In a statement, he said all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of children, are an overriding concern in the diocese.

"It is in that context that I deeply regret to say that I have received a complaint against a priest of the diocese in pastoral ministry which raises concerns in relation to child safeguarding matters," said Bishop O'Reilly.

"In accordance with diocesan child safeguarding procedures, the priest has voluntarily agreed to take administrative leave whilst an investigation takes place concerning the complaint.

"The civil authorities are aware of the complaint.

"It is important to stress that the priest enjoys the right to the presumption of innocence whilst these matters are being investigated.

"The complaint relates to events alleged to have happened a considerable time ago."

It is understood mass-goers on Saturday evening were first to be told of the developments when other clergy read a statement from Dr O'Reilly from the altar.

Bishop O'Reilly said he wanted to assure everybody again, as he has done before, that the Diocese of Kilmore is fully committed to safeguarding children, and urged anyone with any concerns to come forward.

"I ask you to join me in prayer for God's help for all concerned at this difficult time," he added.

The most recent audit of safeguarding arrangements in the Catholic Church in Ireland reported significant improvements in Kilmore.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz