Belfast Telegraph

Ulster priest stole £1,800 from church collection and diocesan fund

By George Jackson

A retired priest has pleaded guilty in the Magistrate's Court in Derry to stealing almost £1,800 of church funds.

John Irwin (72) from Garvagh Road in Dungiven, admitted stealing £1,440 of collection money from St Patrick's Church in Pennyburn between May 2011 and October 2012. He also pleaded guilty to stealing £300 belonging to the Derry Diocesan Fund between December 2009 and May 2011.

Defence solicitor Michael McGee told District Judge Barney McElholm that Irwin has repaid the £300 in relation to the second charge as well as compensation of £700 to the diocesan authorities.

He said it was Irwin's intention to repay in full the £1,440 of collection money he stole and he also intended to pay compensation to the diocesan authorities in relation to that amount.

Mr McGee asked the District Judge to defer sentencing in the case to enable Irwin to repay the total amount of outstanding monies in full, as well as the additional compensation.

Sentencing was deferred until November 21.

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