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Monday 19 February 2018

Brady's mentor always denied cover-up

John Cooney

IN October 1972, the 46-year-old Leitrim-born priest Francis McKiernan -- president of St Felim's College, Ballinamore - was appointed Bishop of Kilmore.

A keen historian and a fluent Irish speaker, he remained as Bishop of Kilmore for 26 years, and died in retirement aged 79.

He was chairman of the committee that organised the visit to Ireland of Pope John Paul II in 1979.

In March 1998, he withdrew as a special guest from a gala dinner of the Cavan Association of New York because of a planned protest by relatives of the victims of Brendan Smyth.

McKiernan was accused by relatives of Smyth's victims of covering up the abuse by the Norbertine priest in the 1970s.

McKiernan repeatedly denied the allegation, which has catapulted him into the news as the bishop who asked Fr Sean Brady in 1975 to record the evidence of two boys abused by Smyth.

The bond between the late bishop and his former pupil, Cardinal Brady, was testified to by the cardinal at his Golden Jubilee Mass on June 7, 2001.

"The guest of honour is someone whom we know very well, whom we admire very much and who holds a special place in the affection and esteem of so many," Cardinal Brady had said.

Irish Independent

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