Ex-priest Kennedy fights extradition to face abuse claims
By Patsy McGarry
January 6, 2012
Former priest Peter Kennedy (72), who was sent to Britain from Brazil, is to fight an extradition order to Ireland granted against him at a London Magistrates Court in Westminster yesterday.
Mr Kennedy is a former member of St Patrick’s Missionary Society at Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, and comes from Ballinahown, Co Westmeath. He faces child abuse allegations from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, involving at least 18 people who gardaí have taken statements from.
Ordained in 1964, he was removed from active ministry in 1986 following persistent complaints of sexual abuse dating to the late 1960s when he was a missionary priest in Kenya.
In the late 1980s he moved to London and worked as a taxi driver. He was laicised in 2003.
He was at the centre of a major abuse scandal in July 2003 when one of his victims in Ireland was awarded €325,000 in a High Court settlement with St Patrick’s Missionary Society.
It was paid to Brendan Shannon arising from allegations that in 1982 he was abused as a 13-year-old at his home in Cloonloo, Co Sligo, by Mr Kennedy who was a locum priest in the parish.
After this Mr Kennedy flew to Brazil on a British passport. Brazil does not have an extradition treaty with Ireland. On Stephen’s Day he was deported to London by Brazilian police.
St Patrick’s Missionary Society said all allegations made to it about Mr Kennedy had been reported to gardaí. It regretted “the pain caused to those who suffered abuse and to their families”.
Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry diocese, which oversees Cloonloo, gave a “profound apology to those who have suffered abuse, and to their loved ones”.
He said it was his “earnest hope, as Peter Kennedy faces justice . . . that those who have suffered . . . may have growing confidence that the truth will be served”.