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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Priests say they are an easy target for false abuse allegations

The Association of Catholic Priests has spoken out in the wake of false allegations of abuse made against a Kerry priest.

File photo
File photo

THE ASSOCIATION OF Catholic Priests (ACP) has said that members of the clergy are an “easy target” for false allegations of abuse in the wake of a case where a woman apologised to a priest she falsely accused of abusing her.

The woman, Eileen Culloty, apologised to Father Liam O’Brien in the High Court this week after she falsely accused the Kerry priest of abusing her five years ago, allegations which proved to be completely untrue.

In a statement yesterday the ACP said that the Fr O’Brien’s “long nightmare is over” but said the case highlighted what it has known for a long time – that priests are being subjected to false allegations of abuse.

“Priests are now an easy target, and there are a considerable number of false allegations being made against individuals,” the ACP said adding that there was an absence “in most cases including this one, of any real support from Church authorities” for a priest.

Together with solicitor Robert Dore the ACP worked to clear Fr O’Brien’s name and the Bishop of Kerry yesterday welcomed the news saying he was “delighted that the truth has been established”.

“Fr O Brien is a priest in good standing. I met with Fr. Liam O Brien on a number of occasions and discussed the situation with him,” he said.

The Bishop said that a “Care of Priests” group has been established in the last few years with the aim of supporting priests and said that building support for priests will be prioritised in the Kerry diocese in the future.

Read: Are Ireland’s priests heading for extinction?

Read: Catholic child abuse: 164 allegations against 85 priests have led to zero convictions

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Hugh O'Connell

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