Former St Michael’s priest sent for for trial

Fermanagh Herald [Enniskillen UK]

January 3, 2024

A CASE in which a local priest is accused of historic sexual abuse against two males, one of which allegedly dates back over 40 years, is to transfer to crown court for trial.

Canon Patrick McEntee (69) from Esker Road, Dromore who requested a leave of absence last year while a serious safeguarding investigation was carried out, 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.

On first appearing before Enniskillen Magistrates Court Canon McEntee, former president of St Michael’s College, 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 although it is understood they relate to Canon McEntee’s time in Fermanagh.

At the most recent court sitting a prosecuting lawyer informed the court a decision has been taken for the case to proceed on indictment.

The case has been adjourned until January 15 when a date is to be fixed for a committal hearing during which Canon McEntee is expected to be returned for trial at crown court.

District Judge Alana McSorley remanded him on continuing bail of £500 and ordered residence to be at his current address and no other.

He is also banned from all contact with the complainants and any person aged under 16.

Originally from Monaghan, Canon McEntee joined the staff of St Michael’s College, Enniskillen in 1997 teaching religious studies and sitting on the Board of Governors.

He was also college president between 1994 and 2000, moving on to take up the post of Parish Priest at St Davog’s Church in Dromore, 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.”