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Sunday 21 September 2014

Woman says sorry to priest over false abuse claim

Tim Healy and Majella O'Sullivan

Published 06/06/2013 | 05:00

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A WOMAN has apologised in the High Court to a priest she falsely accused of abusing her.

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Eileen Culloty, who lives near the presbytery in Currow, Killarney, Co Kerry, wrote a letter to the Bishop of Kerry in which she made a series of untrue allegations against Fr Liam O'Brien.

She later repeated them to the gardai, HSE and the Personal Injury Advisory Board, and also disrupted a funeral mass where the priest was officiating.

Yesterday, she apologised in a letter read out in court and undertook never to repeat the false allegations.

Robert Dore, solicitor for Fr O'Brien, who is now living in Killorglin, Kerry, said the priest had agreed not to pursue his action for damages for defamation against Ms Culloty.

Fr O'Brien had also sought orders restraining Ms Culloty from harassing him over the false allegations.

The priest was not in court to hear the letter of apology and when contacted last night said he had nothing to add at this point.

Ms Culloty was represented by a solicitor in court. Neither did she appear to be at home in the Currow house she shares with her siblings, about 300 metres from the presbytery where Fr O'Brien lived when he served in the parish.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne agreed to a request from Mr Dore to adjourn the matter generally, which means it can come back before the court if there are any further incidents.

In the letter, Ms Culloty said she wished to put on record the allegations she made in the letter to the bishop in December 2008, and verbally later to others, never had any basis or truth.

Fr O'Brien had left the parish about 14 years prior to the letter being written.

She accepted he was a priest of the utmost integrity and that he never behaved in any untoward way.

Locals in Currow were pleased that Fr O'Brien's name had been cleared. Although it's been almost 20 years since he served in the parish, he's still regarded very highly there, one woman said.

Irish Independent

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