Priest faces sex abuse inquiry
Published 04/11/2013 | 09:11
A Catholic priest has stepped aside while an allegation of sexual abuse is investigated.
Bishop Leo O'Reilly, of the border diocese of Kilmore, said gardai are aware of the complaint against the parish priest, which is said to date back a number of years.
In a statement, he said all matters relating to child safeguarding, the safety and welfare of children, are an overriding concern in the diocese.
"It is in that context that I deeply regret to say that I have received a complaint against a priest of the diocese in pastoral ministry which raises concerns in relation to child safeguarding matters," said Bishop O'Reilly.
"In accordance with diocesan child safeguarding procedures, the priest has voluntarily agreed to take administrative leave whilst an investigation takes place concerning the complaint.
"The civil authorities are aware of the complaint.
"It is important to stress that the priest enjoys the right to the presumption of innocence whilst these matters are being investigated.
"The complaint relates to events alleged to have happened a considerable time ago."
It is understood mass-goers on Saturday evening were first to be told of the developments when other clergy read a statement from Dr O'Reilly from the altar.
Bishop O'Reilly said he wanted to assure everybody again, as he has done before, that the Diocese of Kilmore is fully committed to safeguarding children, and urged anyone with any concerns to come forward.
"I ask you to join me in prayer for God's help for all concerned at this difficult time," he added.
The most recent audit of safeguarding arrangements in the Catholic Church in Ireland reported significant improvements in Kilmore.