Belfast Telegraph

Priest in eye of gay porn images storm goes on leave

By John Mulgrew

A priest under investigation after accidentally displaying pornographic images of men during a school meeting has taken an immediate temporary leave of absence.

Parishioners were told on Friday night that a summit with parents held to discuss the matter had been “inconclusive” and that another would be arranged.

Pomeroy cleric Fr Martin McVeigh displayed 16 explicit images of men on a large screen during a meeting at St Mary’s Primary School last month. Around 30 parents and an eight-year-old boy were present.

He left the meeting for 20 minutes and when he returned he didn’t refer to the incident.

He later denied any knowledge of the images.

An investigation was subsequently launched and on Friday parents met representatives of the archdiocese of Armagh to discuss their concerns.

The priest claimed the images were on a flash drive and that both it and the computer were available for use by different people in the parish.

It is understood that parents and parishioners were read a prepared statement from the Catholic Church which said that Fr McVeigh had been exonerated.

But it is believed many parishioners present were not happy with the statement.

Many are understood to have refused to allow their children to take part in any ceremonies conducted by the priest. First communions are to be held next month but it is not clear whether Fr McVeigh will officiate.

A statement released to journalists said the meeting on Friday had not come to any conclusion.

During the evening it’s understood parents were told no crime had been committed, and that social services had found there were no child protection issues.

Although requesting temporary leave, Fr McVeigh will remain on as parish priest.

Earlier this month, following the incident, a laptop belonging to the priest was stolen from his parish office in Pomeroy during a break-in. It’s also been claimed the flash drive in question has since been destroyed.

Police are understood to have concluded that no crimes were committed.

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