Northern Ireland news

Brother of Mary McAleese appeals to 'gentlemen' to reveal what they know about Malachy Finegan abuse

Malachy Finegan is accused of a catalogue of physical and emotional abuse

A BROTHER of Mary McAleese who was abused by paedophile priest Malachy Finegan has appealed to those who knew about the cleric's actions to come forward.

Clem Leneghan yesterday said "if you can find the courage to speak, then you may even now help bring some healing for those who continue to suffer".

His comments came just a day after Mrs McAleese revealed her youngest brother had suffered abuse by Fr Finegan when he was a student at St Colman's College in Newry.

In her interview with RTÉ, the former president said her brother was "seriously, physically, sadistically abused by Malachy Finegan".

Fr Finegan taught at St Colman's from 1967 to 1976 and was later president. He was also parish priest in Clonduff and died in 2002. He is accused of a catalogue of physical and emotional abuse on pupils.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Lenaghan - a film and TV production safety consultant who now lives in England - confirmed he had suffered "psychological and physical abuse" at the school.

He said while Fr Finegan "can no longer be called to account in the courts", there were many people who had been aware of the abuse, who could now "come forward".

The 49-year-old also joined calls for an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse at St Colman’s College.

"I do not wish my story to take the spotlight away from where it belongs, which is on the need for truth and justice for the many victims of Finegan’s lifetime of criminal, sexual abuse of children," he told RTÉ.

"I call on Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to lose no time in initiating an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse at St Colman's College.

"While Finegan himself can no longer be called to account in the courts, I know that other adults both in St Colman's and more broadly within the Dromore Diocese, knew of his activities and failed to act.

"Gentlemen, you know who you are.

"On behalf of all victims of abuse of whatever form, I call on you now to come forward and tell what you know to the PSNI. Please do it today.

"If you can find the courage to speak, then you may even now help bring some healing for those who continue to suffer for the crimes of Malachy Finegan.

"If you choose to continue in your silence, history will not be to your memory."

Mrs Bradley said on Monday that it would be unconstitutional for the British government to intervene and pay compensation to abuse victims in the north. The Secretary of State has also indicated that only the devolved institutions can decide on public inquiries into abuse.

Another survivor of Fr Finegan, Paul Gilmore, said victims must not continue to suffer due to the political deadlock.

"Karen Bradley had no difficulty putting together and implementing the budget last week dealing with all of the other 'devolved matters'," he said.

He added: "It's a disgrace that the delays initially caused by the Catholic Church in dealing with these matters are now being exacerbated by the political process".

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