Friday 20 April 2018

PSNI to probe sex abuse priest

Father Malachy Finnegan
Father Malachy Finnegan

Allan Preston

Victims who were abused by the late paedophile priest Malachy Finnegan have been urged to contact a dedicated PSNI team.

A number of those abused by Finnegan in St Colman's College in Newry have already spoken out publicly about his conduct there between 1967 to 1987.

Clem Leneghan, the youngest brother of former President Mary McAleese, has revealed he suffered psychological and physical abuse at the hands of Finnegan and has called for an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse at the college.

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has also spoken out about how he was savagely beaten by Finnegan. He also claimed the priest attempted to sexually groom him.

Although the disgraced cleric died in 2002 and can no longer be held accountable for his crimes, the PSNI's public protection branch said other areas needed to be investigated.

These include taking action against any living offender from that time and assessing any current child safeguarding risks.

Steps will also be taken to establish if others were committing abuse at St Colman's at this time and pinpointing when authorities became aware of Finnegan's behaviour and what action was taken, including informing the police.

Any abuse victims of Finnegan or others at St Colman's from this time have been asked to call the PSNI non-emergency number 101.

The PSNI warned that at no time should the name of any victim, offender or witness be disclosed on social media as it could damage future legal proceedings.

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey has faced serious criticism in the aftermath of the revelations about Finnegan, and quit over his handling of the crisis. He conducted Finnegan's funeral Mass.

Yesterday, Pope Francis accepted his resignation and appointed Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce in a caretaker role in Dromore.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News