Wednesday 23 January 2019

'I picked out a nice park' - son of Fr Michael Cleary reveals he is now homeless

Ross Hamilton says Pope should apologise to the 'whole country' on his visit

Ross Hamilton, the son of Fr Michael Cleary
Ross Hamilton, the son of Fr Michael Cleary
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

The son of Fr Michael Cleary has revealed that he is homeless, and has been for seven months, since losing his apartment.

Ross Hamilton also said Pope Francis should apologise to the “whole country” in addition to survivors of clerical abuse during his visit this weekend.

He described the abuses carried out by members of the clergy as “heinous” and “atrocious” and said “priests should have been shopped to the police”.

Popular priest Fr Michael Cleary fathered Ross and another child with his housekeeper Phyllis Hamilton which remained a secret until after his death in 1993.

As a result Ross grew up immersed in religion in parochial houses in Harold’s Cross and Ballyfermot in Dublin and said the church’s history of abuse runs contrary to the teachings of the religion. 

“The damage that was done by a hierarchy that was reluctant to acknowledge a problem, or deal with the problem, it just runs contrary to the dogma, it's absurd and appalling,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan on her RTÉ Radio 1 show today.

Fr Michael Cleary, Phyllis and Ross Hamilton
Fr Michael Cleary, Phyllis and Ross Hamilton

He said Pope Francis seemed willing to “make amends” for the controversial history of the church asking “where is the love, where’s the compassion, where’s the kindness?”

Despite being critical of the church he said he was heartened by the World Meeting of Families as an opportunity for people to reconnect with the religion.

“I’m kind of glad that Ireland is reconnecting with its Christian Heritage, people kind of take it for granted… the teachings of Christ had a profoundly good effect on the Irish people,” he said.

More recently, Ross has been living in homelessness after losing his apartment seven months ago. He has been sleeping on a friends couch as he searches for a place to stay. 

“I picked out a nice park, put it that way,” he said.

“It’s kind of something you do very clandestine. It’s kind of embarrassing to even have to do it. You’re lugging your life around in cases.”

“It used to be hard to get an apartment, now it’s hard to get a viewing.”

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