Northern Ireland news

Five 'missed opportunities' for Bishop John McAreavey to reveal Malachy Finegan's crimes

Five missed opportunities were identified when Bishop John McAreavey could have revealed the truth about Fr Malachy Finegan's abuse. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

IN an interview with Bishop John McAreavey carried out by Martin O'Brien for The Irish Catholic newspaper, five 'missed opportunities' were identified when he could have put abuse allegations against Malachy Finegan into the public domain:

* September 1999, on becoming Bishop of Dromore: "It pains me yet that I didn't, but what I effectively did was to accept the arrangements in place when I came [to be bishop],” Dr McAreavey said.

* November/December 2002: Paul Gilmore - a victim of Finegan - expressed anger at Dr McAreavey's decision to say his funeral Mass and wrote an email asking the bishop to publicise what happened.

* February 2006: After the publication of the book Up the Creek with a Paddle, in which American author Mary Anne Boyle Bradley revealed that her husband had been abused by Finegan. Dr McAreavey said: "At that point I thought, gosh, this is an opportunity. I invited somebody round from social services and he specifically advised me not to do it."

* June 2011: Bishop McAreavey had asked the Catholic Church's National Board for Safeguarding Children to go beyond its terms of reference to include deceased priests, especially Finegan, in a review of the diocese and expected journalists to question him about this. When they did not, the bishop stayed silent. "Later I would ask myself, why didn't I just do it."

* November/December 2017: Pictures of Finegan were removed from St Colman's pending digital alteration, but the public was not informed.

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