CLOGHER (UNITED KINGDOM)
The Irish News [Belfast, Northern Ireland]
July 31, 2023
A Co Tyrone priest who requested a leave of absence earlier this year while a serious safeguarding investigation was carried out has appeared in court on historic sexual offences against two males.
Canon Patrick McEntee (69) from Esker Road, Dromore is charged with indecently assaulting a complainant between 1980 and 1981.
He is further alleged to have twice indecently assaulted a second complainant on dates between 1988 and 1989.
A police officer aware of the facts of the case told Enniskillen Magistrates Court the charges could be connected.
Canon McEntee spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges against him.
No details surrounding the circumstances of the alleged offences were disclosed during the short hearing.
Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy remanded the accused on continuing bail of £500 and ordered Canon McEntee to reside only at his current address.
He is also banned from all contact with complainants and any person aged under 16.
The case was adjourned until 21 August and Judge Kennedy refused a defence solicitor’s application for Canon McEntee to be excused from attending on that date.
A former president of St Michael’s College, Enniskillen he moved to take up the post of parish priest at St Davog’s Church in Dromore, Co Tyrone in 2001, where he has remained until his recent leave of absence.
Previously the Diocese of Clogher confirmed: “Canon Patrick McEntee PP, Dromore, County Tyrone, has asked for a period of leave to allow a safeguarding matter to be addressed. The Diocese of Clogher has robust safeguarding policies and practices in place. The Diocese of Clogher takes seriously all allegations, suspicions or concerns of abuse.”
When asked of the current status given the charges now faced, a spokesperson replied: “Canon Patrick McEntee is on leave while a safeguarding matter is dealt with and will continue to be on leave from ministry until all due processes have been completed.”