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Contents of abbey where pervert Smyth is buried up for auction

By Brian Hutton

Published 05/06/2015

Kilnacrott Abbey in Cavan where the remains of convicted paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth are buried. Smyth’s grave is on the extreme left with no headstone
Kilnacrott Abbey in Cavan where the remains of convicted paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth are buried. Smyth’s grave is on the extreme left with no headstone
Brendan Smyth

A confessional, paintings of monks and pictures and statues of boys and girls are among items under the hammer at notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth's ex-abbey this weekend.

The serial child abuser's former order, the Norbertines, has been forced to sell off Kilnacrott Abbey near Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, where Smyth sheltered for years while on the run from police.

The Northern Ireland-born cleric was buried under cover of darkness in a ceremony in the grounds of the 44-acre estate at Kilnacrott Abbey in 1997.

The abbey has since been sold for £448,000 to a US-based religious organisation known as Direction For Our Times. The remaining handful of priests, who said their last Mass there at Easter, are moving into a local house as the contents are sold to the highest bidders. The sale is expected to make up to £73,000.

A framed oil on canvas painting of Jesus Healing Girl is among several religious scenes and pictures of saints and popes for sale. A huge 20ft dining table, along with large antique bookcases, are among the lots that should reach the highest prices. But most of the items are described as normal furniture, and artefacts have already been donated to other churches.

Auctioneers handling the sale have been ordered to clear everything that remains, including organs, crucifixes, prayer kneelers, altars and pews.

More surprisingly, a didgeridoo is among the lots, as is a Victorian depiction of Jesus with a crown of thorns, a "classical scene" of a mother and daughter, an engraving of the Sailor Boy's Return and a large oil painting called Jesus I Trust In You.

Viewing starts tomorrow and the auction starts on Saturday.

Smyth was convicted of molesting dozens of boys and girls over a 40-year period. Despite allegations being investigated by church officials, including Cardinal Sean Brady, as far back as 1975, it was almost 20 years before he was caught. By then, he had assaulted children in a hotel, a cinema, a convent and other venues across nine different counties.

Smyth died of a heart attack in prison in August 1997 aged 70 - just a month into a 12-year prison sentence.

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