Three priests suspended over sex abuse allegations


The parish priest removed from his duties by the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, last weekend is the third priest Dr Walsh has suspended in response to an allegation of sexual abuse, it emerged yesterday.

Speaking on Clare FM, Bishop Walsh said that on two previous occasions he has suspended priests in compliance with Church guidelines on the issue of sexual abuse following complaints being made against them. Bishop Walsh said that in each instance, the matters did not go to court. In his time as Bishop the diocese has not made any settlement with any alleged sex abuse victim.

In relation to the two priests, Bishop Walsh said that one is now deceased, while the second man retired from ministry and lives in the Killaloe diocese.

Last weekend, Bishop Walsh travelled to a remote Clare parish to inform stunned parishioners that he was removing their parish priest from his duties after receiving a complaint against the priest from Waterford gardaí dating back to the early 1980s.

The allegation relates to a time prior to the priest working in the Killaloe diocese.

Bishop Walsh said: "At all times, we have followed the guidelines, I'm not saying that I have handled everything perfectly since I became Bishop. There are things in this area I would have done differently if I was doing it again." Bishop Walsh also stated that in case church-goers come to the wrong conclusion about absent priests in the diocese at the moment, he pointed out that three members of clergy are currently in hospital recovering from illness.

He stressed that the allegation against the suspended parish priest is the only one he is aware of against a serving priest in the Killaloe diocese.

Citing a survey, Bishop Walsh claimed that 2 per cent of child sexual abuse has been committed by the clergy.