Pope dismisses Irish sex abuser from priesthood
James Donaghy not permitted to function as priest ‘under any circumstance, public or private’
By Patsy McGarry
February 23, 2015
Pope Francis has dismissed convicted abuser James Donaghy, a priest of Down and Connor diocese in Northern Ireland, from the clerical state “on his own authority and for the good of the Church.”
The decision has been communicated privately to the victims and to the former priest.
Donaghy stood aside from ministry in March 2004 and has not worked as a priest since then. He resigned as parish priest of Bangor Co Down in July 2009.
In December 2011 he was convicted on 23 charges of sexual abuse involving three people. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail on February 10th, 2012.
In July 2013 he was convicted on a further five charges of abuse against one person and sentenced to two years imprisonment, to run concurrently with the previous sentence.
In a statement the Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Traenor said Donaghy’s dismissal by Pope Francis meant “he is not permitted to function as a priest under any circumstance, public or private.”
Bishop Treanor continued that “on behalf of the priests and people of the diocese of Down and Connor, I again extend my deepest sorrow and apologise to survivors who suffered such pain at the hands of someone in whom they had placed their trust. I hope that this decision will assist those affected on their journey towards healing.”
He assured everyone that “the diocese remains fully committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults with comprehensive structures of safeguarding in place throughout the diocese supported by specialist personnel and thousands of trained volunteers. The diocese is also committed to bringing healing to the victims of abuse.”
Conscious of the right to privacy of the victims the diocese would be making no further comment, he said.