Bishop to visit Laois parish where NI abuser priest served in 1950s
Allegations of sexual and physical abuse made later against Fr Malachy Finnegan
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty is to visit the parish in Co Laois where Fr Malachy Finnegan was a curate in the early 1950s. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
He was president at the college from 1976 to 1987, after which he was parish priest at Clonduff near Newry until 1995. He died in 2002. Between 1994 and 2016, 12 allegations of child sexual abuse were made against him.
In a statement on the Kildare & Leighlin website, Bishop Nulty said it had “no knowledge or record of any complaint or allegation concerning Fr Finnegan”.
He continued: “I will visit Rosenallis on St Patrick’s Day to preside at the 11.00am Mass.”
He encouraged anyone with concerns over child protection to contact the diocesan designated liaison person, Tusla, and/or the Garda.
On the Clonduff parish website in Dromore diocese it is stated that Fr Finnegan was “on mission in the diocese of Kildare & Leighlin at Mountmellick, 1973-76”. This is inaccurate.
On March 1st last, Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey announced his resignation arising from questions raised over the handling of child abuse allegations against Fr Finnegan by the diocese on a BBC Spotlight programme last month.
In a statement last month also, Dr McAreavey, who became Bishop of Dromore in 1999, said he was made aware of allegations of child sexual abuse by Fr Finnegan in 1994 and that the diocese received another such allegation in 1998.
The PSNI said the first record they had of such reports about Fr Finnegan from the diocese was in 2006.
Among those who have called for an independent inquiry into Dromore’s handling of allegations against Fr Finnegan is former president Mary McAleese.
She disclosed last Monday on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Seán O’Rourke programme that her youngest brother Clement had been “seriously, physically, sadistically” abused by Fr Finnegan while a pupil at St Colman’s in the 1980s.
At their Spring meeting last week, the Catholic bishops reiterated their commitment to “ full co-operation with any inquiry required by statutory bodies”.