Prelate deeply saddened by priest's breach of trust

 

The Archbishop of Tuam said he was deeply saddened by the seven-year sentencing of Father Martin Greaney in Ballina court for offences against children. Dr Michael Neary was conscious of how the ministry of priests could appear undermined when events of this kind occurred, he said in a statement last night.

"I am truly pained that a priest of the diocese breached the trust placed in him by his Church, by families and by the children themselves," he said.

He hoped that now the case had been decided it would in some way assist those who had been offended against, and their families.

He would pray for them in their healing and put the pastoral services of the diocese at their disposal in every way possible.

This grave matter was first brought to his attention in May 1995, he said.

He immediately took the necessary steps to remove the priest concerned from his ministry.

Since that time the diocese had co-operated fully with the Garda and with the health board in regard to their responsibilities.

"I am aware of the seriousness of this situation in terms of the impact it can have on those who are offended against, their families and indeed in so many ways on all of the people of the diocese. I am also conscious of how the ministry of priests can appear undermined when events of this kind occur.

"We ask for your support in our efforts to respond to what has happened," Dr Neary stated.

He asked that the family of Father Greaney be remembered in prayers.

This had also been a difficult time for them. Father Greaney too was in need of support and prayer in the time ahead.

He said any person wishing to make contact with the pastoral support services of the diocese could do so through contact with their local priest or the Diocesan Offices or by telephoning a helpline number (freefone): 1800 331234.