Local Fury over Call to Forgive Sex Priest

By Anita Guidera
Irish Independent
December 5, 2008

A GAELTACHT community has reacted angrily to a call from the deputy editor of 'The Irish Catholic' to forgive a paedophile priest who is due for release from prison.

Defrocked priest Eugene Greene (80) is expected to be freed this week after serving eight years of a 12-year jail sentence for abusing 26 boys over three decades in west Donegal.

The paedophile, who terrorised and brutally raped his young victims, many of whom were altar boys in the various parishes he served, is widely expected to return to the west Donegal Gaeltacht to live with a family member shortly after his release.

He came to garda attention only after he reported an attempted blackmail attempt by one of his victims to gardai.

Yesterday, the deeply wounded community was in shock at a call on them from the deputy editor of 'The Irish Catholic', Michael Kelly, to offer their forgiveness to the former priest and allow him to live among them.

"Obviously, Eugene Greene has committed dreadful crimes. He has caused immense pain, especially to victims, but also to the whole community. I think if we are serious in how we take Christian message there is an obligation to show forgiveness, whether or not he has shown remorse," he said.

But local radio station, Highland Radio was flooded with messages from the public objecting to his call. One man described his crimes as abhorrent.

"This man abused his position of trust to the highest extent possible and there is no evidence that he is rehabilitated. Given what he has done he must suffer the alienation he has brought on himself," he said.

Programme presenter, Shaun Doherty said that up to 80pc of callers were outraged at the suggestion of forgiveness.

Former garda Martin Ridge, who investigated the activities of four paedophiles in the west Donegal Gaeltacht, yesterday called for the establishment of a truth commission to uncover the full extent of what happened.


"There is still a lot of hurt out there and a lot of victims who never came forward. They have been spiritually, emotionally and physically traumatised. What happened to these innocent children must be brought out into the open and acknowledged fully. Only then can the healing begin," he said.

The repercussions of Eugene Greene's actions are still being felt across west Donegal.

"Young men have committed suicide. Some have left the area, never to return. Some are addicted to drink and drugs. To this day we are hearing stories about marriages breaking down, men not able to hold down a job and getting involved in self-destructive behaviour. Their childhoods, even their lives have been ruined," the parent of one victim told the Irish Independent.


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