Belfast Telegraph

Smyth abbey items go under hammer

A confessional and paintings of "saintly" monks are among items under the hammer at notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth's former abbey this weekend.

Pictures and statues of boys, girls and cherubs are also among the nearly 600 lots for sale as the serial child abuser's former order has been forced to sell off Kilnacrott Abbey in Co Cavan.

The doomed home of the Nobertines in Ireland, near Ballyjamesduff, was where Smyth sheltered for years during the 1990s on the run from police in Northern Ireland.

The scandal led to the collapse of Dublin's Fianna Fail/Labour coalition government, under then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

The abbey has since been sold for 610,000 euro to a US-based religious organisation known as Direction For Our Times.

The remaining handful of priests, who said their last mass there at Easter, are moving into a local house as the contents of their former abbey are sold to the highest bidders.

The sale is expected to make up to 100,000 euro.

A framed oil on canvas painting of Jesus Healing Girl is among several religious scenes and pictures of various saints and popes for sale.

A huge 20ft (6m) dining table, where the Order would have enjoyed meals together, along with large antique bookcases, are among lots which should reach the highest prices.

But most of the items are described as utilitarian furniture like bedside lockers and settees which were used by the clerics for everyday living.

A number of religious artefacts have been donated to other churches.

Auctioneers handling the sale have been ordered to clear everything that remains, including organs, crucifixes, prayer kneelers, altars and pews.

More surprisingly, a didgeridoo is among the lots.

A Victorian depiction of Jesus with a crown of thorns, a "classical scene" of a mother and daughter, an engraving of the Sailor Boy's Return and a large oil painting called Jesus I Trust In You are included.

Viewing starts tomorrow and the auction gets under way on Saturday.

Smyth was buried under darkness in a pre-dawn ceremony in the grounds of the 44-acre estate at Kilnacrott Abbey in 1997.

The Northern Ireland-born cleric was convicted of molesting dozens of boys and girls over a 40-year period.

Despite allegations being investigated by church officials, including Cardinal Sean Brady, as far back as 1975 it was almost 20 years before the sexual predator was jailed.

He had assaulted children in a hotel, a cinema, a convent and other venues across nine different counties.

Smyth died of a heart attack aged 70 in prison in August 1997 - just a month into a 12-year prison sentence.


From Belfast Telegraph