THE Raphoe Diocese is currently updating its figures relating to the number of priests against
whom allegations of child sexual abuse have been made over the past forty-five years.
The news comes just days after the fourth annual Day of Atonement for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse was held in parishes throughout the country.
According to the most recent Review, which is almost ten years old, a total of fourteen priests in the Raphoe Diocese were accused of child sexual abuse between 1975 and 2010.
A total of fifty-two allegations have been reported to An Garda Síochána involving priests of the diocese during the same period.
The review, undertaken by The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church stated that four priests – Fr Eugene Greene, brothers John and Daniel Doherty and Con Cunningham – were convicted and jailed.
Fr Greene, who pleaded guilty to 40 counts of sexual assault on 26 children in Donegal between 1965 and 1982, died at the end of 2018. He was 71 when he was jailed for twelve years in early 2000.
Fr John Doherty, who was released in 2002, was sentenced to three years imprisonment after he was convicted of sexually assaulting four alter boys in the 1970s.
His brother Fr Daniel Doherty, Derriscleigh, Carrigart who raped a teenage parishioner in the church sacristy on dates in 1985 was sentenced to seven years imprisonment at the Central Criminal Court in 2005.
Con Cunningham, of Glen Road, Carrick pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault against a female on dates in 1976 at a location in Donegal. Cunningham (83) was jailed for nine months at Donegal Town Circuit Court in 2018
According to the Bishop’s office eight of these priests against whom an allegation was made are ‘Out of Ministry’ or have left the priesthood. The remaining six were still in ministry or had retired at the date of the Review.
It was also confirmed that a further two priests who are not of the diocese but who reside within it are known to be the subject of an allegation arising from their past ministry.
The figures were taken from The Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Raphoe undertaken by The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) – August 2010 Report.
The Bishop declined to comment on the amount of financial compensation that has been paid by the Diocese of Raphoe to date. In a piece carried in this newspaper back in 2005 the then Bishop of Raphoe, Bishop Philip Boyce said that the amount of €760,000 had been paid in respect of 19 allegations with claims and that all allegations of child sexual abuse in the Diocese by priests, which he received, had been reported to the Gardaí.
“I attach the table from the Review of the Raphoe Diocese conducted in 2010, published on our website. There will be an updated review in the next few months and a fuller statement will be issued then,” a spokesperson for the Bishop of Raphoe said this week.
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere