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Pope Francis dismisses convicted Lisburn paedophile priest James Martin Donaghy from priesthood

Published 20/02/2015

Pacemaker Press 8/12/2011 Former priest James Donaghy Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 8/12/2011 Former priest James Donaghy Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pope Francis has dismissed a convicted paedophile priest from County Antrim from the priesthood.

James Martin Donaghy, originally from Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn is currently serving a 10-year-old jail sentence for abusing three victims following a trial in 2011.

Donaghy was convicted in 2013 of indecently assaulting a boy and was given two more years in jail to run concurrently.

He stepped down from duties in 2004 and has not worked as a priest since - but now he has been banned from ministry.

Pope Francis dismissed James Donaghy from the clerical state for "the good of the Church".

The Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said that his diocese had been informed of the Pope's decision by the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Treanor said: "The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has informed the Diocese of Down and Connor that His Holiness, Pope Francis has dismissed James Donaghy from the clerical state on his own authority and for the good of the Church (ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae). This means that Mr Donaghy is not permitted to function as a priest under any circumstance, public or private.

"The decision decreed by Pope Francis has been previously communicated privately to the victims and to James Donaghy.

"On behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Down and Connor, I again extend my deepest sorrow and apologise to survivors who suffered such pain at the hands of someone in whom they had placed their trust. I hope that this decision will assist those affected on their journey towards healing.

"I assure all that the Diocese remains fully committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults with comprehensive structures of safeguarding in place throughout the diocese supported by specialist personnel and thousands of trained volunteers. The Diocese is also committed to bringing healing to the victims of abuse.

"The Diocese is conscious of the right to privacy of the victims and will make no further comment.

"The Diocesan Policy and Procedures advise anyone who may have a concern of a safeguarding nature to contact the PSNI, Social Services, or the Diocesan Designated Safeguarding Officer (Telephone: 028 90492798)."

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