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Ex-priest paid Continuity IRA to threaten his own nephew

By Louise Roseingrave

Published 01/05/2015

Francis Kelleher (59), with an address in Cork city, pleaded guilty to four counts of coercion in 2012 and 2013. The intimidation was carried out by the Continuity IRA, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard
Francis Kelleher (59), with an address in Cork city, pleaded guilty to four counts of coercion in 2012 and 2013. The intimidation was carried out by the Continuity IRA, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard

A former priest has been jailed for four years after he admitted paying dissident republicans to intimidate a relative on his behalf.

Francis Kelleher (59), with an address in Cork city, pleaded guilty to four counts of coercion in 2012 and 2013. The intimidation was carried out by the Continuity IRA, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard.

The court was told that €4,000 (£2,920) was withdrawn from Kelleher's bank account and paid to an unnamed individual as threats against Kelleher's nephew, Niall Kelleher (43), escalated.

Francis Kelleher has since been suspended from the priesthood.

The threats against Niall Kelleher included an incident when three men called to his workplace and told him to withdraw a solicitor's letter to his uncle concerning a civil matter or he "wouldn't see the following week - we are from the Continuity IRA".

After his arrest in January 2013, Francis Kelleher admitted he was responsible for the threats and that money withdrawn from his account was for the IRA.

Belfast Telegraph

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