Bishop of Raphoe confirms retired priest being investigated

"Diocese has been cooperating fully with the gardaí and Tusla" - Bishop Alan McGuckian

Bishop of Raphoe confirms retired priest being investigated

Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian SJ.

Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian SJ., last night confirmed that a retired priest from the diocese has been charged with assaulting two minors in the 1970s.

It is understood the 85-year-old accused has been released on bail after he was charged with 26 counts of indecently assaulting the victims Judge Bryan Smyth adjourned the case at Dublin District Court, for the preparation of a book of evidence

According to Detective Garda John Gallagher of Milford garda station, gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

He said he arrested the accused at his rented hostel accommodation in Dublin for the purpose of charging him. He was taken to the Bridewell station in central Dublin where the three counts of indecent assault were put to him.

The man made no reply after caution and was handed copies of the charge sheets.

Det Garda Gallagher said there was no objection to the accused’s bail subject to conditions.

Judge Smyth granted bail in the man’s own bond of €500, with no cash lodgement required.

Under conditions, he is to notify gardai of any change of address and have no contact, directly or indirectly, including by electronic means with any witnesses in the investigation.

He is to be of good behaviour and commit no offences.

The DPP directed trial on indictment, Det Gda Gallagher said.

The priest addressed the court only to confirm that he was in receipt of an old age pension. Judge Smyth asked if he had any other means to pay his legal fees.

“No,” he replied.

The judge granted free legal aid and remanded the accused on bail to Letterkenny District Court.

He also ordered reporting restrictions.

In a statement issued at 11.18pm last night (Sunday) Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ., Diocese of Raphoe, confirmed that that they were helping with the investigation.

"As reported in the media a retired priest of the diocese of Raphoe was charged in Dublin District court with assaulting two minors between the years 1972 and 1975.

"The diocese has been cooperating fully with the gardaí and Tusla. As this case is active in the court at present, we are not permitted to make any further comment. We are committed to assisting and supporting anyone who has been a victim of clerical abuse in seeking justice," he said.

The statement then details how one should go about reporting a complaint.

"To report a concern, or complaint of child abuse, either current or historical, please contact Margaret Northage the Designated Liaison Person for the diocese on (086) 2183011 or you can go directly to the statutory authorities:
Tusla (Child & Family Agency): (074) 9123672/23770; Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau (01) 6663430/6663435.

"In an emergency, please contact Letterkenny Garda Station on (074) 9167100.

"Free counselling and support is available through Towards Healing, an independent organisation providing professional support for people who have experienced institutional, clerical or religious abuse in Ireland.

Freephone - RoI: 1800 303416,

Freephone - N.Ireland & UK: 0800 0963315,

Freephone - Hearing Impaired: (085) 8022 859."

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