Fr Malachy Finnegan victims complain to ombudsman

BBC News

February 27, 2018

A group of victims is complaining to the police ombudsman about failures to investigate reports in 1996.

Father Malachy Finnegan, who died in 2002 was accused of sex abuse by 12 people.

Some parishioners are refusing to set foot in the parochial house where some of the abuse happened.

Priests will no longer stay overnight in the parochial house after Saturday evening mass.

The late Fr Malachy Finnegan, a former teacher, worked in St Colman’s College in Newry from 1967 to 1976 and was later the President of the school.

Victims claim that the police in Newry were alerted to the allegations in 1996 but failed to interview the priest who died in 2002. The police say that a formal complaint was never made but they did receive a report of historical abuse.

Parishioners have told the BBC Spotlight team that they will no longer set foot in the parochial house in Hilltown and that priests will no longer stay overnight there.

Recently the Catholic diocese of Dromore settled one of the claims against Fr Finnegan.

Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, said the abuse was “abhorrent” and admitted he made an “error” by officiating at Fr Finnegan’s funeral in 2002.

The school began to remove the priest’s image from its photographs last year.

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