Saturday 19 August 2017

Fr Cullen receives O'Flaherty award

Fr Shay Cullen was the recipient of the ninth Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award at the weekend. Photo: Don McMonagle
Fr Shay Cullen was the recipient of the ninth Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award at the weekend. Photo: Don McMonagle

Sarah MacDonald

A missionary priest who rescues children from prostitution in the Philippines has said Ireland can do more to help those fleeing oppression, war and dire poverty.

Fr Shay Cullen was in Killarney, Co Kerry to receive the prestigious Hugh O'Flaherty International Humanitarian Award for his work with children as young as nine who have been forced into sex slavery.

In his acceptance speech, the 73-year-old Columban priest said Ireland has "a duty to reach out to" refugees with compassion, empathy and self-sacrifice. He praised the Government's pledge to relocate and resettle 4,000 refugees.

Fr Cullen told the Irish Independent that he wanted the Government to bring in a law forcing internet service providers to ban child pornography from the web.

"Ireland could lead the way on this and make the internet a safer place for children," he said.

He received the prestigious award on behalf of the PREDA Foundation which he set up in 1974 for children he rescued from sex slavery in Subic Bay, where a large US naval base then operated. He was instrumental in getting the naval base closed down.

Irish Independent

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