Gardai failed to follow up 'tip-off' on abuse priest
'No-show' at court hearing attended by notorious paedophile Bill Carney
Published 10/10/2010 | 05:00
GARDAI investigating the notorious paedophile priest, Bill Carney have been criticised for not acting upon a tip-off that he was to appear in court last month.
The ex-priest, who was exposed in the Murphy Report as a serial child sex abuser, appeared in a Gloucestershire court last month in divorce proceedings taken by his wife. Carney is understood to be seeking a substantial five-figure settlement, the proceeds of the bed-and-breakfast business he ran with his wife, Joan, in Scotland.
Paul Clayton, Carney's estranged son-in-law, said he fears that Carney will do a runner if he gets the money. He said he contacted gardai in advance of the case, giving them the date of the hearing and contact details for the ex-priest's solicitor.
The ex-priest appeared at the court house on September 27 with a solicitor and a friend, who waited outside while the divorce proceedings were heard in camera. Mr Clayton, who attended the court with his mother, said he expected gardai to show up to interview Carney about the sex abuse claims. But no one did.
"I was asked to tell them of his movements," said Mr Clayton. "The church was asking people to hand over information about him. He is going to get a good lump in his settlement and then he will be gone."
Gardai have declined to comment on their investigations into Carney or whether new complaints have been made against him. The Murphy Report into clerical child abuse described him as one of worst sexual predators. He was suspected of abusing up to 32 children, in some cases working in concert with another priest.
Carney left the priesthood after a string of complaints against him and moved to the UK where he got married and opened a bed and breakfast in Scotland. He lived there openly for many years until the publication of the Murphy Report forced him into hiding. Carney was on holidays in Spain with his wife when the report was published.
Carney was placed on probation after admitting two counts of indecent assault against two altar boys in 1983. He was defrocked nine years later after a canonical inquiry found him guilty of abusing children. He refused to leave his parish house until he secured a pay-off of £30,000 from the diocese.
The ex-priest was a talented golfer and member of the Royal Dublin Golf Club while a priest in north Dublin. Carney was expelled from the Royal Dublin in the mid-1990s after newspaper reports exposed his past and he moved to the UK.
Mr Clayton said his mother "knew absolutely nothing" about Carney's past and was devastated by the revelations.