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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Irish bishop distances himself from “offensive and inappropriate” comments

Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross
Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross
John Murray: convicted on five charges of sexual assault
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

AN IRISH bishop has disassociated himself from “offensive and inappropriate” comments made by a priest who called for prayers for a former Lord Mayor facing a sex assault trial.

The Bishop of Cork & Ross Dr John Buckley has disassociated himself from the comments which were made by a priest who was speaking at a funeral in Cork last week.

The priest, who is not assigned to the diocese, apparently called for prayers for John Murray (83) who was facing a trial in the Circuit Criminal Court on six charges of sexually assaulting a young teen.

Mr Murray, who served as Lord Mayor of Cork in 1993/94, was convicted on five of the six charges last Friday following a harrowing four day trial.

The veteran Labour Party official had vehemently denied the charges but was convicted by unanimous jury vote on one charge and by majority jury vote on the remaining four charges.

The retired taxi driver was remanded in custody for sentencing before Judge Sean O’Donnabhain on December 2.

Last night, the Diocese of Cork & Ross strongly disassociated itself from the priest’s reported comments at a Requiem Mass outside Cork city last week.

The comments were while the trial was running and before the jury had begun to consider their verdict.

“Dr John Buckley says he does not stand over comments made at a funeral in Cork last week,” a spokesperson said.

The comments involved, which were made during the Prayers of Intercession at the funeral, were described by the diocesan spokesman as “offensive and entirely inappropriate.”

“The comments were to do with a case which was before the courts . The Dioscese was unaware the comments were going to be made and the Bishop says he doesn’t stand over them and sincerely regrets the obvious hurt they have caused.”

Dr Buckley has since moved to deal with the issue.

“They have been in touch with the priests order and expect them to address the issue. The priest does not hold an appointment in the Diocese of Cork and Ross. The diocese fully respects the independence of the D.P.P and Courts Service and it is inappropriate that a funeral mass should be used in such a manner.”

The Augustinian Order, of whom the priest is a member, has also launched its own probe and apologised to all those offended by the remarks.

The victim of the sex assaults, who was a young teen at the time of the first offence in 1996 but who is now in her 30s, sobbed as the verdicts were returned last week.

The repeatedly broke down during her evidence at the trial where she outlined the details of the sexual assaults she was subjected to.

She said the former Lord Mayor whispered that she was “a very beautiful girl” and that he “would love to f*** her.”

As well as fondling her breasts and private parts, he also pushed his hand inside her clothing and inserted his finger inside her.

She said one assault left her sore and bleeding.

Irish Independent

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