Northern Ireland news

Former Bishop John McAreavey backs calls for public inquiry into alleged child abuse by Fr Malachy Finegan

Former Bishop of Dromore Fr John McAreavey has joined calls for an independent public inquiry into alleged child abuse by Fr Malachy Finegan. Picture by Cliff Donaldson
Marie Louise McConville

FORMER Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey has backed calls for an independent public inquiry into alleged child abuse by Fr Malachy Finegan.

Dr McAreavey served as bishop of the diocese from 1999 to 2018 when he stood down after it emerged he had celebrated Mass alongside Finegan in 2000.

He had previously apologised for officiating at the priest’s funeral in 2002.

Finegan has been accused of a catalogue of sexual and physical abuse against boys on church premises and at St Colman's College in Newry, where he was a teacher from 1967 and its president from 1976 to 1987.

In a statement through his solicitor, Dr McAreavey said he "supports the calls from victims and others for Secretary of State Karen Bradley to set up an independent public inquiry into alleged cleric abuse perpetrated by Malachy Finegan".

Last month, victims of Finegan called for a 'Coat of Arms' mosaic tribute to former Bishop Francis Brooks to be removed from Newry Cathedral over claims he failed to take action against the paedophile priest.

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese last year led calls for an inquiry into the church's handling of the allegations of abuse, which are being investigated by police.

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin was recently named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore as it awaits a new bishop.

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