Priest at centre of children’s report was withdrawn from Sallynoggin

Priest given a four-year sentence in 2007 for sexual abuse of girls but served 18 months

In December 2002 the priest, the late Fr Paddy McDonagh, also known as Fr Aloysius  was withdrawn by his then Provincial from Sallynoggin parish in Dublin where he had been serving, after he had been accused by a female relative of abusing her when she was a child.Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

In December 2002 the priest, the late Fr Paddy McDonagh, also known as Fr Aloysius was withdrawn by his then Provincial from Sallynoggin parish in Dublin where he had been serving, after he had been accused by a female relative of abusing her when she was a child.Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

 

The review by the church’s National Board for Safeguarding Children did not name the Salvatorian priest who abused in excess of 100 children up to 2004.

However, the priest in question was the late Fr Paddy McDonagh, also known as Fr Aloysius. He was aged 78 in December 2007 when he was jailed for sexually abusing several girls over a 25-year period. He was given a four-year sentence at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Patrick McCartan, all but 18 months of which was suspended.

In December 2002 he was withdrawn by his then Provincial from Sallynoggin parish in Dublin where he had been serving, after he had been accused by a female relative of abusing her when she was a child.

Abuse allegations

Desmond Connell

In May 2004 Phil Garland, then director of the Child Protection Service at the Dublin archdiocese, spoke to a woman in Co Roscommon who told him Fr McDonagh had abused her daughter. The Garda, relevant civil authorities, and the religious congregation were all informed.

Returned

Priests in the parish had not been informed about the 2002 allegations against him either.

Fr McDonagh was referred to Stroud in England, a residential unit for the treatment of clergy with addiction and other issues, in August 2004. While there he admitted to having sexually abused more than 100 children, mostly but not exclusively small girls.

In October 2004 it emerged that the Salvatorian congregation was aware of three abuse allegations against Fr McDonagh and that he had also celebrated Mass in Dublin over three weeks earlier, though the archdiocese had prohibited him from doing so.

In July 2005 a file was sent to the DPP. It was decided Fr McDonagh should face nine charges arising from complaints by four people. The priest pleaded guilty to eight counts of sexual and indecent assault on four girls in Dublin, Limerick and Roscommon between 1965 and 1990.

Sgt Gerard Daly told the court that McDonagh voluntarily admitted abusing six more victims but did not divulge further details. Sgt Daly said the abuse started in 1965 when McDonagh used to occasionally visit a then seven-year-old victim’s home in Dublin. He also said McDonagh visited the home of two sisters, aged six and 10, in Limerick for long weekends in 1984 and after they said their prayers he would climb into bed with them.

Sgt Daly said the most recent abuse took place in Roscommon in 1990, when the victim was six to seven years old.

Sentenced

The priest was released from prison in 2009 and died the same year.