Thursday 24 May 2018

Sex-abuse priest Finnegan 'spent three years at parish in Laois'

Malachy Finnegan sexually abused children in Newry
Malachy Finnegan sexually abused children in Newry

Ian Begley

A priest who sexually abused children in Northern Ireland is said to have worked in a parish in Co Laois.

Fr Malachy Finnegan worked as a curate for three years in Rosenallis in the Slieve Bloom mountains from 1953 to 1956. 

A spokesman from the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin confirmed to RTÉ it had “no knowledge or record of any complaint or allegation concerning Fr Finnegan”.

Finnegan later moved to the Diocese of Dromore where he is known to have abused children at St Colman’s College in Newry. 

Earlier this week, former president Mary McAleese called on the authorities in Northern Ireland to launch a public inquiry into the Diocese of Dromore’s response to abuse complaints, which stretch back to the early 1970s. 

Her call came after she revealed that her younger brother was physically abused as a child by Finnegan. 

She has now called for a full inquiry into accusations against the late priest and those who held senior positions within the school and the diocese at the time.

Speaking on ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’ on RTÉ Radio One, Ms McAleese said: “My youngest brother, my baby brother, was seriously, physically, sadistically abused by Malachy Finnegan. My mother, almost 90 years of age, had to discover that from an article in the ‘Belfast Telegraph’ three weeks ago.

“Four of my five brothers went to that school.”

The Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey, hit the headlines earlier this month after he resigned following the controversy over his officiating at Finnegan’s funeral.

The bishop stepped down on March 1 after weeks of anger when it emerged that he had said Requiem Mass for Finnegan.

In a statement released by his solicitors, Dr McAreavey said: “Following media reports which have disturbed and upset many people in the diocese and further afield, I have decided to resign with immediate effect.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin could not be reached for comment last night.

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