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Controversy over priest at centre of child abuse claims

The bishop of Kilmore diocese has issued a statement saying that the priest voluntarily agreed to step aside.
Dec 18th 2011, 2:07 PM 2,514 12

THE BISHOP OF Kilmore has intervened in a controversy over a priest in the diocese who is at the centre child abuse allegations.

Bishop Leo O’Reilly issued a statement saying that the priest in question had voluntarily agreed to step aside from his ministry. The bishop said he had personally addressed Masses in the area to inform parishioners about the case.

He said: “In September when child safeguarding complaints concerning this priest came to my attention I immediately informed the civil authorities.

“I spoke to the priest who voluntarily agreed to stand aside from sacred ministry. I informed the parish council that complaints had been received and I addressed local Masses so as to directly and personally inform parishioners.”

According to RTÉ, the priest in question has continued to live in a local parochial house since stepping down, despite being asked to move several times by Bishop O’Reilly.

Fr Seán McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests said he welcomed the “courageous leadership” from the bishop. However, he told RTÉ’s This Week that the Association was “very much opposed” to the public way in which priests are stepped down before any allegations are proven or disproven.

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A recent report from the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church commended Kilmore diocese for its child protection practices, which were found to be of a consistently high standard.

More: Diocesan reports criticise inadequate response to abuse allegations>

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Michael Freeman

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