Massgoers in shock as parish priest at centre of investigation
A PARISH priest has been stood down from his duties following an allegation involving a child.
Shocked massgoers at a parish in Co Galway were told by the the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, that their PP would not be exercising his ministry while a number of investigations were under way.
Archbishop Neary travelled to the parish church on Saturday to personally read a formal statement at evening mass.
The statement, which was subsequently posted on the website of the archdiocese of Tuam, did not name either the parish or the priest.
At Mass in the parish yesterday, a curate prayed for the parish priest and for those who had taken away his peace.
The curate said he was very sorry to have to read the archbishop's statement about his very best friend.
He told the congregation that the statement said: "I deeply regret to inform you that an allegation with regard to child safeguarding has been made against Fr X, your parish priest. The allegation dates back to the 1980s.
"The allegation was reported immediately by the diocese to the gardai and the HSE and the National Board for Safeguarding Children.
"It is important to say that what has been received is an allegation, which will require to be investigated. In accordance with church safeguarding policy, Fr X will not be exercising ministry while the investigation in under way.
"Fr X is entitled to the constitutional and natural right of every person to the presumption of innocence. My prayers are with all concerned at this distressing time.
"The diocese continues to work with the civil authorities to promote the safety of children, which is of paramount importance."
The statement urged anyone with concerns about safeguarding to contact the designated persons in the diocese, the HSE or gardai.
It added that no further comment could be made at this time.
It is understood the incident under investigation is alleged to have taken place in a different parish in which the priest was previously working.
He has been deeply involved in the life of his local community since his arrival as parish priest some years ago.