WHILE MAGHERAFELT PARISH IS IN TURMOIL AND ARMAGH DIOCESE IS IN MELTDOWN THE ARCHBISHOP - EAMON MARTIN - IS JIVING AWAY IN LOURDES.
EAMON IS FOND OF HATS
HERE HE IS WEARING A POINTY, PINKY ONE.
LETTER TO EAMON ABOUT MAGHERAFELT
22nd May 2018.
Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Last night I attended a meeting in Magherafelt with concerned parishioners of the parish.
A range of issues was discussed, and I promised the group that I would write to you to highlight their concerns.
Sadly, most of the concerns involve Father John Gates and his treatment of the parishioners and parish groups.
1. The first concern was of how Father Gates speaks to people – especially elderly people. He has shouted at and sent several older ladies home from church crying!
2. When these ladies went home and told their families of the incidents some family members like sons, went to Father Gates house to complain. Father Gates spoke angrily to these people and on some occasions called the PSNI to take the complainants away!
3. Father Gates has the habit of sending for the PSNI for people he conflicts with – a habit that the PSNI have expressed concerns about.
4. Father Gates shouts at people regularly over the issue of parking on church property in places he does not approve of. The only person in the parish who seems to be allowed to park anywhere is his bingo caller colleague named “McEniff”.
5. Father Gates has reduced people to tears by refusing to sign Mass cards when he is approached to do so in the sacristy – even at times of death.
6. As you know he recently refused Conree Muldoon his First Holy Communion – causing widespread scandal in the parish. In the end Conree got his Holy Communion.
7. Father Gates openly has “favourites” in the parish causing widespread tension.
8. Parishioners claim that Father Gates has bullied Monsignor O’Byrne, Father Brannigan and other clergy.
9. Father Gates has sacked the original groundsman and appointed his own person.
10. Parishioners have heard that Father Gates had to reach a settlement with a man he had accused of assaulting him?
11. Parishioners have heard that Father Gates has rowed with an undertaker.
Father Gates has presided over situations of bullying of staff in the parish schools.
1. One lady became very ill over bullying and even though she attempted to have her problems resolved never got a resolution.
2. Another lady also became very ill and is seeking a resolution presently.
3. One lady took Father Gates to the Labour Relations Agency where Father Gates was told he could not discipline her; was told that his school’s human resources training and processes were inadequate; and he was reprimanded by the Agency for accessing a confidential safeguarding report.
THE IRISH SCHOOL:
The local Irish School in Magherafelt has had major problems with Father Gates from its beginning.
1. Father Gates, although an Irish speaker, has refused to celebrate First Holy Communion in Irish for the children of the school. As a result, the children and parents have had to go from parish to parish looking the Sacrament for their children.
2. Currently they receive First Holy Communion in Cookstown parish.
3. Father Gates cancelled a fundraising event for the Irish School in the parish centre at the last minute in spite of the fact that the event had been planned for months.
4. When parents telephone Father Gates about the school he hangs up the telephone abruptly on them!
5. Father Gates has accused the school parents of lies!
We now have a situation in Magherafelt where everyone, Catholic and Protestant alike are talking daily about the state of the parish.
Father Gates has been missing for some time and there is talk about him returning to the parish on June 10th.
People are aware that you are coming for Confirmations on June 3rd.
Surprisingly, many people. Especially the people in the Irish School, have told me that they have written to you about these matters and you have not even acknowledged their letters!
There are 130 pupils in the Irish School – with 260 parents.
That is 400 parishioners and members of the diocese that are not being treated with respect!
I am now appealing to you to resolve the matter by:
1. Appointing a new, kind and dynamic PP to Magherafelt who will:
A. Bring the healing of all the hurt that has been done.
B. Go into the parish to sort out all the bullying that is taking place – especially within the schools.
Eamon, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I beseech you to exercise your role as Pastor and Father Bishop and restore peace, unity, and love to the great Parish of Magherafelt – with all its loyal and faithful parishioners.