VICTIM OF PAEDOPHILE PRIEST SECURES BIGGEST EVER PAY-OUT
A victim of a paedophile priest who taught at Co Down school has secured what is thought to be the biggest ever pay-out in a historical abuse case in Northern Ireland.
Fr Malachy Finnegan worked as a teacher in St Colman's College in Newry from 1967 to 1976 and was president of the grammar school from 1976 until 1987.
The victim, who was 11 years old at the time of his abuse, secured a six-figure compensation sum, a letter of acknowledgment from Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey and an agreement that the Church pay for ongoing therapy sessions.
Also included is an opportunity for the victim to attend the school in an attempt to "exorcise his demons".
Dr McAreavey has said he made an "error of judgment" by officiating at Fr Finnegan's funeral and revealed there were a total of 12 allegations made against the priest.
The first came to light in 1994, the second was made in 1988 and was not related to his tenure at St Colman's, while the others emerged after his death in 2002.
An elaborate headstone placed on his grave paid for by the Catholic Church, has since been removed.
The boy, a boarding pupil at St Colman's College when the abuse took place, was said to have suffered "violent sexual and emotional" abuse which "caused him to be permanently scarred".
Malachy Finnegan was a Latin teacher at the school at the time. He was later appointed parish priest in Dromore and held the position of parish priest in Clonduff until 1995.
Bishop McAreavey said earlier this month he had asked the National Board for Safeguarding Children to review the case of Fr Finnegan when it conducted an independent audit of all allegations against priests in the diocese in 2011.
He described his actions as “abhorrent, inexcusable and indefensible”.
However, Claire McKeegan, a partner with KRW Law, last night criticised the Church for its response following allegations made against Fr Finnegan.
She said no call was ever made for victims to come forward and he was "buried as a priest in good standing with a bishop presiding over his requiem Mass".
"Our clients have called for a public inquiry once and for all into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland and for the Church to surrender its documents and records for the scrutiny of a judge-led investigation which has the powers to get to the truth."
The Diocese of Dromore last night rejected the criticism and said the practice of safeguarding procedures "has been to report all allegations of abuse by any priest in the diocese including that of Fr Finnegan".
"The believability of the testimonies and stories of victims has always been accepted by the diocesan authorities immaterial of whether victims made a decision to engage with the police or not," it said.
"The records show that in relation to the first allegation that the then bishop and his legal advisor both recognized and were aware of their duty to report the matter. The practice of the then bishop in other cases at that time was also to report the allegations.
|THE HUNTING GROUND|
"The second reported incident came to the diocese after it was known to social services and the police. All subsequent allegations were also reported to the civil authorities including the police.
"The diocese has a victim-centered approach and has always taken account of the competing desires of victims to go public or maintain their privacy."
Tuesday evening's SPOTLIGHT programme on BBC N. Ireland is one of the most shocking revelations to date about the Catholic Church in Ireland.
The priest-president of a diocesan college used the boys there as his own sexual playthings over many years.
The sexual abuse by Father Malachy Finnegan was an abuse of the worst kind.
The boys felt helpless and had no one to turn to.
Malachy Finnegan continued to abuse the boys in his car, a sacristy, and presbytery when he was made a parish priest.
Even when he was sent to a centre in England for rehabilitation he remained in contact on a weekly basis with one of his victims and got a Catholic lady to give the victim £10 a week to keep him silent.
JOHN MC AREAVEY was involved counseling one of the victims in the mid 90s - years before he became the Bishop of Dromore - so Mc Areavy cannot say he did not know of the abuse.
Knowing of the abuse he still proceeded in 2002 in presiding over Finnegan's funeral.
After the burial, the Catholic Church erected a massive Celtic cross over Finnegan's grave a grave and monument victims had to pass on their way to visit family graves.
And now we learn that McAreavey & Co have secretly paid out one of the largest settlements to at least one of the victims - reputed to be a six figure sum.
Those payouts are not known to the people of Dromore diocese in whose name McAreavy & Co hold diocesan monies in trust.
AND on the Spotlight programme, we were treated to the appearance of the Dromore "Safeguarding" officer coming on to defend McAreavey & Co who were blatantly absent!
Are these safeguarding people being paid £90,000 a year to protect bishops and clergy or to protect children and vulnerable adults?
We are now told that the big Celtic cross erected to Finnegan has been "removed".
This is now a major issue not only in Dromore but for the Catholic Church across Ireland.
It is quite obvious that McAreavey was a bad appointment in the first place - a bishop who had to publicly apologize for the way he treated his priests and who disappeared for a whole year on a so-called "sabbatical".
He got his job in the first place because he was a useful cover-up merchant.
Now his cover-up activities have been publicly exposed in an explosive manner.
If McAreavey had any decency he would resign.
But he will not because that would set a precedent for a lot of his colleagues.
These guys are answerable to no one.
People should walk away from McAreavey when he approaches them.
People should walk out of any Mass he presides at.
People should not allow him to confirm their children.
People should stop paying money into these guys coffers.
The parents of his schools should reject his chairmanship.
The parents of his schools should reject his chairmanship.
How many more of these incidents is it going to take Irish Catholics to realize that these guys are fooling them when they claim to represent God and Jesus?
They are quite simply the NEW PHARISEES who know they can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time.