Belfast Telegraph

PSNI establish task force to handle Father Finnegan abuse claims

Police have set up a dedicated task force to investigate complaints about the paedophile priest Father Malachy Finnegan.

The priest who died in 2002 was accused of the sexual abuse of 12 children while at St Coleman's College in Newry. He was a teacher at the school from 1967 to 1976 and was later its president for 11 years.

It's been claimed police in Newry were alerted to the allegations in 1996 but failed to interview the priest. The police say that a formal complaint was never made but they did receive a report of historical abuse.

Recently the Catholic Diocese of Dromore settled one of the claims against Fr Finnegan.

Dr McAreavey, the Bishop of Dromore, had known about allegations of child abuse against the disgraced cleric as far back as the mid-1990s.

He conducted Finnegan’s 2002 funeral and following an outcry over the church's handling of the matter, reigned from his position on Thursday.

Since the abuse claims came to light, there have been more come forward to say they were abused by the now-deceased priest.

Detective Superintendent Deirdre Bones, PSNI Public Protection Branch said: “The PSNI has set up a dedicated team to investigate complaints of clerical and institutional abuse involving Father Malachy Finnegan.

“I would appeal to anyone who has been the victim of physical or sexual abuse to report it to the Public Protection Branch in PSNI, who will deal with their reports sensitively and confidentially."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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