Belfast Telegraph

Allegations of second paedophile priest in Dromore diocese

Fr Seamus Reid has been accused of sexual abuse (Niall Carson/PA)
Fr Seamus Reid has been accused of sexual abuse (Niall Carson/PA)

It has been alleged that a second paedophile priest was operating in the Newry area at the same time as Fr Malachy Finnegan.

The allegation came to light on BBC Radio Ulster's Stephen Nolan Show on Friday, March 16.

An anonymous caller to the show alleged that he and a number of other boys were abused by a second priest at St Joseph's Boys' High School and St Colman's College, Newry.

The caller said that the abuse was carried out by Fr Seamus Reid.

Fr Reid allegedly carried out abuse at St Joseph's and St Colman's under the guise of conducting confession.

He was also involved with the local Boys Scouts.

In 2015 the Catholic Church confirmed that 11 allegations have been made against Fr Seamus Reid since 1997.

It is understood that his case was also raised by then Bishop John McAreavey during a report on the Diocese of Dromore carried out by the Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children in 2011, though the priest was not publically named.

Fr Reid passed away in 2001.

The allegations come in the wake of paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan being linked to a string of child abuse allegations, understood to have taken place at St Colman's College in Newry and later in the parish of Clonduff in Co Down.

Finnegan worked at St Colman's from 1967 to 1987, and spent his last 11 years at the boys' grammar school as president. He moved to Clonduff as parish priest in January 1988.

Dr John McAreavey stood down from his post as Bishop of Dromore on March 1 after coming under fire for his handling of the case.

In a graphic interview the caller claimed he had been abused by Fr Reid over a number of years in the 1960's beginning as an eleven-year-old.

He said that he pretended to be sick, didn't attend school and stayed away from his home in an attempt to stop the abuse.

The caller said that he slept rough so wouldn't have to go home as the priest even called there looking for him.

He alleged that the abuse was widely known about across the school.

"The school knew about it, definitely some of the school knew about it. Like at St Colman's it was the talk of the school amongst the young boys," he said.

"I find it hard to believe if it was so widely known among pupils that some of the teachers would not have known, someone was bound to have known.

At the end of the call he issued an emotional appeal to 'please try not to let this happen again'.

Another man then called into the show and said that he had been abused by Fr Reid as an alter boy and while in the Boys Scouts.

He said that he had confronted Fr Reid later in life and asked him "What have you done" before the priest made a quick exit.

On his show Mr Nolan said he was being contacted by victims from all over Northern Ireland.

In a statement issued to the Stephen Nolan Show a St Joseph's High School spokesperson said: "It would not be appropriate for the school to make any public comment at this time."

The Belfast Telegraph have contacted the Dromore Diocese for a response but they have yet to respond.

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