Belfast Telegraph

Police asked to confirm alleged paedophile priest was informer

Former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey
Former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey

By Paul Higgins

Former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey asked the PSNI if alleged paedophile priest Malachy Finegan was a police informer, a solicitor for the retired clergyman has revealed.

In a statement released yesterday, solicitor Conleth Downey claimed Mr McAreavy raised the issue on November 16 last year.

Mr Downey's statement on behalf of the former bishop further claims that while rumours had been "circulating" before March last year, Mr McAreavey "had not been aware of this issue" prior to his resignation on March 1, 2018.

"On behalf of our client we have written to the Chief Constable of the PSNI requesting that he confirm or deny the simple allegation that Malachy Finegan was a police informant," the statement reads.

"We have yet to receive a response. Concealment heightens concerns."

Last month lawyer Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, revealed he had asked Secretary of State Julian Smith to establish an inquiry into the abuse claims made against the priest.

Finegan, who died in 2002, has been accused of a catalogue of sexual abuse, including at St Colman's College, Newry where he taught from 1967 and served as president from 1976 to 1987.

Mr Winters said he was informed by letter recently "that on the grounds of NCND (neither confirm nor deny) the PSNI would be unable to rebut the simple allegation that Finegan was an informant", a position he claimed was "inapplicable in the Finegan case" given the priest was dead.

In response, a police spokesperson said: "We would neither confirm nor deny and no inference should be drawn from this."

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