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Thursday 21 September 2017

Paedophile priest didn't tell me of more abuse, says bishop

Paul Melia and Barry Duggan

A SENIOR bishop has rejected claims that a paedophile priest admitted to him in jail that he continued to abuse children after a parish transfer.

Bishop of Confert John Kirby insisted allegations that he knew the man known as 'Priest A' had abused eight more children after he was moved in 1990 amid allegations of abuse were "incorrect".

The claims relate to a priest who was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 1994.

It is understood the priest, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with 57 counts of abuse. He served five years. But a newspaper has claimed the priest made a full admission to Bishop Kirby after he was convicted.

Suspicion

Nine of the victims were from the Kiltormer parish, from where he was removed by Bishop Kirby in 1990. He was then moved to Creagh parish where, it is claimed, he abused five more children. The priest is also alleged to have abused a further two children in Portumna and one other in an undisclosed location.

The admission was allegedly made when Bishop Kirby visited the priest between 1994 and 1998 at Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin. It is claimed the priest gave the names of all his victims to the bishop.

In a statement, Bishop Kirby insisted that the claims were "incorrect" and that all complaints and suspicions of child sexual abuse known to him were also known to the gardai and HSE.

"I am not aware of an acknowledgment by 'Priest A' that he abused any child subsequent to October 1990, the date when I first learned of his sexual abuse of a child," he said.

"Again, contrary to what is claimed, I am not in receipt of any complaint and I have neither knowledge nor suspicion that 'Priest A' abused a child in either of the parishes of Kiltormer or Creagh subsequent to October 1990.

"The claim by the 'Irish Times' that I had knowledge or suspicion that 'Priest A' continued to abuse children subsequent to my learning of his conduct in October 1990, and that such abuse occurred in the parishes of Kiltormer and Creagh, Diocese of Clonfert, is incorrect."

The 'Irish Times' said it could provide more evidence "if needs be", and that it stood over the story. Bishop Kirby was not available for comment.

Irish Independent

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