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Michaella McCollum has mended her ways and is on the path to redemption, says Archbishop Walsh

By Sean O'Driscoll

Published 08/04/2016

Michaella McCollum during her exclusive first interview with the Irish broadcaster RTE (RTE/PA)
Michaella McCollum during her exclusive first interview with the Irish broadcaster RTE (RTE/PA)
Michaella McCollum in the RTE interview broadcast
Michaella McCollum after her arrest
First television interview of Michaella McCollum Connolly after being released on parole from a Peruvian prison
Michaella McCollum’s Facebook post from 2011
Michaella McCollum in the RTE interview broadcast
Michaella McCollum is staying with Archbishop Sean Walsh

A senior cleric has compared drug mule Michaella McCollum to a man jailed for his part for a scandal linked to former US President Richard Nixon.

Archbishop Sean Walsh said the Dungannon woman had shown the same power for redemption as Charles 'Chuck' Colson, a lawyer known as Nixon's "dirty tricks man", who found God and became a preacher.

Further Reading

Michaella McCollum's Facebook posts hailing dead IRA men as heroes  

"When you look at Michaella and the spiritual journey she is on, you see it in the past as well, in people like Chuck Colson," he said. "He found God and set up a charity for prisoners and became a preacher. He changed his life, as Michaella is now doing."

Archbishop Walsh, who has been a special pastor to many ex-pats in Peruvian prisons, has invited Michaella to live with him and his wife at his apartment in Lima. She was seen in their neighbourhood the day after her RTE interview.

The archbishop, who was allowed to marry after converting to the Eastern Catholic Church from Roman Catholicism, said he was very interested in people like Michaella and Colson who find God and learn to turn their lives around while in prison. "I have thought about writing a book about such people and the journey they have taken," he added.

He also claimed Michaella had matured while in jail and spoke fluent Spanish.

She will now be volunteering in his church and helping Spanish-speaking priests learn how to speak English.

"We should always hold out for redemption," Archbishop Walsh said. "Michaella is a wonderful young woman and she has found her path in life. She will also be working with Aids patients. I think she is going to have a wonderful future."

Michaella McCollum Connolly in one of the Ibiza clubs where she worked as a dancer
PARTY SCENE: Michaella in Ibiza
Michaella McCollum Connolly in one of her club hostess outfits
Michaella McCollum after her arrest
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Michaella and Melissa caught on CCTV loading bags into a car in Peru
Michaella McCollum's mother Norah McCollum and sister Samantha McCollum vist the Peru prison
Melissa Reid
Michaella McCollum and ex-boyfriend Dwayne Mullan
Dungannon drugs mule Michaella McCollum
Michaella McCollum Connolly, handcuffed, arrives for a court hearing in Lima, Peru, clutching the book 'Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know: Ten principles for spiritual and emotional fulfillment' (AP Photo/Karel Navarro)
Michaella McCollum Connolly arrives to court for her sentencing in Callao, Peru (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Police escort Michaella McCollum Connolly (right) and Melissa Reid (front) in handcuffs as they are moved from the National Police anti-drug headquarters to a court to be formally charged for drug trafficking in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013
Michaella McCollum Connolly with reality TV star Mark Wright at a promotional night hosted by Belfast's M Club
Michaella McCollum Connolly with Brad Houston from England
Michaella McCollum Connolly
Michaella McCollum Connolly with rugby star Tommy Bowe while doing promotional work at an official Ulster Rugby event

Colson was imprisoned after organising the break-in to the psychiatrist's office of a man the Nixon government suspected of leaking information about the Vietnam war.

The same team later broke into the Democratic Party's headquarters at the Watergate hotel, prompting the Watergate scandal.

Further Reading

RTE refuse to say if they paid Michaella McCollum fund as outrage over interview grows  

20 unanswered questions for Tyrone drug smuggler Michaella McCollum  

Michaella McCollum should be given chance to atone for crimes  

What does radical makeover say about Michaella McCollum?  

Michaella McCollum urged 'to shun celebrity to prove remorse is real' by ex-cop  

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