Republic of Ireland news

Former Garda condemns authorities for failing to tell victims of death of paedophile priest Eugene Greene

Paedophile priest Eugene Greene
Seamus McKinney

THE Garda officer who brought notorious paedophile priest Eugene Greene to justice has hit out at authorities over their failure to notify his victims that he had died.

The former Donegal priest died in Cork in November however details of his death only emerged yesterday.

Greene (91) served eight years of a 12-year sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2000 to 41 sample charges of sex abuse covering a 17-year period between 1965 and 1982 and involving at least 26 boys.

A priest with the Kiltegan Brothers, he served in Nigeria before returning to the Raphoe diocese where he served in a number of different parishes.

A native of Loughanure in west Donegal, Greene’s case led to further outrage when it emerged that some former parishioners had sent him regular sums of money while he was in prison.

Approximately €25,000 was deposited in a bank account for Greene, who was defrocked by the Catholic Church in 2004, on his release from prison in 2008.

Retired Garda Martin Ridge, who still lives in Donegal, was one of the officers who investigated Greene’s case and eventually brought him to court.

In Breaking the Silence, a book about the case, the retired officer revealed that Greene on one occasion apologised to the family of a boy he had abused before going on to abuse two more sons from the same family.

Mr Ridge told The Irish News last night he was “shocked” that the former priest’s victims were not informed of his death for almost four months.

“I think it is terrible; this is all very troubling for his victims. What he did led to marriages being destroyed, drug abuse and addictions among the survivors.

“They should have announced his death; it is toxic,” he said.

The former Garda also called on church authorities to open all files concerning clerical abuse.

“This is the right time to do that,” he said.

However Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian said last night that the diocese had been only been made aware of Greene’s death on February 26. He acknowledged that the it "had re-opened the hurt of those he violated, their families and communities across Donegal".

“Until that contact from the Gardai, the diocese was not aware of his death. Since he left prison in 2008, the diocese has not known about his whereabouts,” the bishop said.

The church leader said once the diocese was made aware of the death, it immediately advised Tusla, the Republic’s child and family agency.

“While at all times honouring the wish of those survivors who may not want to be contacted by the church, I wish to offer my support and invitation to meet with anyone who has suffered abuse,” he said.

“On behalf of the diocese I wish to express my profound sorrow and shame at the abuse which he perpetrated on innocent children,” he said.

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