The Final Insult
Here rests the body of Fr Noel Reynolds, a priest who raped or abused more than 100 children but who was praised for his 'spirituality' by his fellow clerics.
By Pat Flanagan and Niall Moonan
October 24, 2002
A priest who raped or abused more than 100 children has been praised for his "spirituality" by his fellow clerics.
Twisted Fr Noel Reynolds, who died last April, was given a glowing obituary in a diocesan magazine - even though he admitted abusing at least 100 children, including the repeated rape of a girl for six years.
Fellow priests said Reynolds, pictured right, brought his "talents to bear" at the schools and parishes where he had subjected his victims to years of abuse.
In the Dublin diocese magazine Link-Up, on which convicted paedophile Fr Frank McCarthy works, Reynolds is remembered for his "musical talents" and "good humour".
The obituary says: "It is hard to believe that 50 years have passed since the 1952 class entered Clonliffe College.
"Noel Reynolds, one of that class, was remarkable then for his spirituality, musical talents and good humour - characteristics that remained with him down through the years.
"He brought these talents to bear in the various appointments of his pastoral ministry in Dundrum Vocational School, as Primary Diocesan Advisor, Kilmore West, East Wall, Bonnybrook, Saggart, Glendalough and finally to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Rochestown.
"A special word of appreciation is due to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Roebuck, who took such splendid care of Noel during his final years.
"His classmates and fellow priests extend their sincere sympathy to the Reynolds family on the occasion of their sad bereavement.
"May Noel rest in the peace of Christ and enter into the fullness of eternal life."
However, the pervert had abused young children at most of the schools where he served.
Yesterday, a woman who was molested by Reynolds told RTE's Joe Duffy Show that the vile cleric touched her and even asked her to marry him when she was just 16.
She said: "He would touch me when I was sitting in the front seat of his car. He called me his girlfriend and even asked me to marry him. I didn't know what he was talking about.
"When I got married he sent me a wedding present but I smashed it on the ground."
Even though parents had made numerous complaints about Reynolds, he was still appointed as chaplain to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire by Cardinal Connell in 1997.
The Cardinal has now admitted he should have told the hospital that complaints had been made about the pervert priest.
Three years ago, shortly after leaving the hospital, Reynolds admitted abusing more than 100 children in eight Dublin parishes.
Cardinal Connell's spokesman said that when the archdiocese received the first complaint of child sexual abuse against Reynolds, he was immediately removed from his ministry at the hospital. This occurred in May 1998, 11 months after he was appointed chaplain.
Last week's Prime Time programme reported that in 1996, while Reynolds was parish priest of Glendalough, some parents complained to Archbishop's House that they had serious concerns about his behaviour towards their children but that nothing was done.
The Cardinal did not inform the hospital of Reynolds' past in Glendalough.
Eighteen months later, parents threatened to go public unless something was done about him.
Fr Arthur O'Neill, Administrator of Westland Row, confirmed that he had reported his concern about Reynolds in 1995.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Connell is also facing a growing revolt from within the Church.
A nationwide poll of priests has found one in five believe the Cardinal should resign over his handling of sex abuse.
More than half of the 70 priests questioned in a phone survey said he should stay to face the music. One in four said they did not know or refused to comment.
No-one was available at Link-Up to comment yesterday.