Saturday 18 November 2017

Paedophile priest who abused boys at school is discovered dead at home


NOTORIOUS paedophile priest Donal Collins has been found dead in his home in Curracloe, Co Wexford.

Gardai were alerted around 3.30pm on Friday afternoon of a sudden death in Curracloe. They have now confirmed the person as paedophile priest Donal Collins, who was in his late 70s. Collins was cited in The Ferns Report as one of 12 priests involved in 100 cases of child sex abuse in the diocese between 1962 and 2002.

In 1966 the Diocese of Ferns received a complaint of abuse against Collins who was accused of inappropriate behaviour towards 20 boys in a dormitory of St Peter's College and Seminary in the college. The complaint at the time was treated by then Bishop Donal J Herlihy as a moral failure.

However, he was allowed return to school teaching staff.

Collins was appointed principal of St Peter's College by Bishop Brendan Comiskey in 1988, despite his removal by Bishop Comiskey's predecessor Bishop Herlihy following allegations that Collins sexually abused pupils in his charge.

Knowledge of the earlier allegations was apparently not made known to Bishop Comiskey at the time.

During this period Collins was a science teacher in St Peter's College and allegations against him were made in 1966.

Fourteen pupils were cited in the Ferns Report as being abused by Collins between 1960 and the early 1990s.

Collins admitted the abuse in 1993. He was charged in 1995 with 21 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency and one of buggery.

He served a one-year jail sentence on conviction.

He was laicised in 2004, 38 years after allegations against him first surfaced.

He took civil proceedings by way of judical review in May 1966, seeking a prohibition of the hearing of the charges. That application was refused.

In March 1998 he pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency and one of indecent assault. He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment and served one year at the Curragh Prison.

Following the discovery of his body, Collins was removed by ambulance to Wexford General Hospital. A post-mortem examination will be held later.

It is known that Collins suffered from a heart condition.

Sunday Independent

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