Convicted paedophile at meeting briefed by bishop

By David Tucker
Wexford People
May 9, 2002

Convicted paedophile Fr. Donal Collins was present at a meeting of clergymen in Wexford briefed by Bishop Eamon Walsh on how the Diocese was coping with the clerical sex abuse controversy since the resignation of his predecessor.

Local people said they were stunned when Collins was seen among the ranks of priests from throughout the county invited to the meeting at the Riverbank House Hotel last Thursday.

The briefing by Bishop Walsh took place during a regular three-monthly Deanery meeting at which several issues germane to churchmen in the county were discussed. It wasn't clear whether the bishop was aware of Fr. Collins' presence or whether the disgraced priest remained for the full session.

Diocesan spokesman Fr. John Carroll could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

One of former Bishop Brendan Comiskey's last official functions before resigning was to agree a six-figure payout for the victims of Fr. Collins.

The payout, one of the largest by a diocese to a sex abuse victim in this country, is the second known to have been made by the Diocese of Ferns, which is facing compensation claims running into several million euro from the victims of Collins, Sean Fortune, and other paedophile priests.

Fr. Collins, aged 65, served a year in prison for indecent assault and gross indecency on four young men.

He was sentenced to four years, but had the remaining term suspended in 1999 after being described as 'truly repentant'.



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