Statement by the Diocese of Down and Connor regarding Fr Paul Symonds
22 January 2016
In October 2009 the Diocese of Down and Connor was notified by the civil authorities of concerns of a safeguarding nature raised against Fr Paul Symonds. In accordance with the Policy and Procedures of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) and the Diocesan Safeguarding Office, Father Symonds stepped aside to facilitate a full investigation by the civil authorities.
In 2011, after statutory investigation, with which the Diocese and Fr Symonds co-operated fully, and during which Fr Symonds was never charged with a criminal offence, the determination of the Prosecution Service was not to prosecute. Thereafter the Church’s own internal canonical inquiry resumed.
The canonical investigation has reached the decision that Fr Paul Symonds will live as a retired priest without any public ministry.
As you are aware, the Diocesan Policy and Procedures advise anyone who may have a concern of a safeguarding nature to contact the PSNI, Social Services, or the Diocesan Designated Safeguarding Officer (Telephone: 028 90492783).