Abuse of pupils at Glenstal Abbey school in Co Limerick involved two monks

In no case were there criminal or civil proceedings, but financial settlements made in some

Details of settlements arising from the sexual abuse of pupils by Benedictine monks at Glenstal Abbey School, at Murroe, Co Limerick cannot be disclosed for confidentiality reasons, Abbot Brendan Coffey has said.

“Financial settlements were made in some of these cases. In each settlement, and by mutual consent, we are bound by a confidentiality agreement,” he said.

“We have records of four historic allegations against two members of the monastic community relating to abuse in Glenstal Abbey School. A further historical concern was highlighted regarding a long deceased monk (the person making this complaint wasn’t sure themselves if this was an allegation of abuse or not). All of these allegations are mentioned in our safeguarding audits which are available on our website. They were all fully reported and investigated. There are no current cases.”

In no case were there criminal or civil proceedings and “as there were no court proceedings, no legal costs were incurred by members facing allegations”, he said.


According to a review by the Catholic Church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), published in 2014, 10 allegations of child abuse were made against six Benedictine monks at the monastery and school dating back to the start of 1975.

It noted that of the six accused monks “two are deceased”, one of whom had admitted the abuse and was sent for treatment. He was removed from monastic life/the clerical state by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 2007. The allegation against the second deceased monk was received long after his death and its veracity could not be established.

Of the remaining four accused monks, two had left the Benedictines and Glenstal, while the other two were still there.

The NBSC review found that “in the case of one of these, the allegations made by a third party have been found to have no basis in fact and appear to have been completely malicious. No complainant has been identified”.

Regarding the sixth monk about whom child safeguarding concerns arose, the review found: “The matters complained of happened in another jurisdiction almost 45 years ago and have been fully investigated by the civil authorities there and full information has been shared with An Garda Síochána and the HSE in Ireland.” He “is subject to a supervision contract which restricts his movements and activities”.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times