Diocese faces crisis over abuse claims
The Catholic Church in the Diocese of Ferns was at the centre of controversy this week amid claims that a curate in the county was being investigated following claims of child sex abuse.
The issue was heightened by suggestions that a letter of apology was written by Bishop Brendan Comiskey to the alleged abuse victim at the time.
Dr Comiskey was out of the country when the reports of the incident first broke in the Irish Times and Sunday Independent over the weekend.
The allegations were given weight when South East Radio, which is one-quarter owned by the Bishop and the Diocese, repeated all the allegations in news bulletins early in the week.
However, efforts by this newspaper on Tuesday to contact Fr Walter Forde, the official spokesman for Bishop Comiskey, failed.
His office said he was away for the day and was unlikely to be contactable.
On Tuesday evening, Monsignor Richard Breen, the Parish Priest of Bunclody, who is the Vicar General of the Diocese and who has had to deal with the controversy in the absence of the Bishop, said he had been instructed to make no further comment on the matter.
It was subsequently learned that legal advice had forced the Diocese to order a clampdown on all comment in relation to the matter.
The reported allegations are said to have shocked many clergy, who were completely unaware of any complaints, and they are likely to cause deep distress within the Diocese.
On Wednesday morning, Dr Comiskey, prior to leaving his residence for a Confirmation ceremony, issued a short statement saying that it should be appreciated that in view of the fact that a Garda investigation is taking place, it would be quite wrong for him to make any comment on the matter.