28/10/2005

Catholic Church reveals extent of abuse allegations

The Catholic Church was reeling today following further confirmation of sexual abuse amongst its priests in a number of diocese's north and south of the border.

In the latest revelations, it emerged that 15 priests have been accused of sexually abusing children over the past 50 years in the Down and Connor diocese while a further 26 have been accused of abuse in the Derry diocese over the same period.

The figures followed an Irish government inquiry into child abuse in the Ferns diocese in Co Wexford uncovered over 100 allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

The 271-page Ferns report investigated allegations against 21 priests who had been working in the diocese between 1966-2002.

In the Down and Connor diocese Bishop Patrick Walsh appealed for anyone "who feels they have been hurt, we want to help them".

"We have put in place very, very strict policies and procedures in regard to child protection and there will be training for everyone in every parish in the diocese," he said.

In Derry Dr Seamus Hegarty said there had been only one successful prosecution against the 21 allegations of abuse.

"Our paramount concern is for the safety and welfare of children," he said.

"An independent child care consultant has recently carried out a review of all cases in this diocese, and the diocese will have ongoing external review."

(MB/SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 February 2019
Public Consultation Launched On Child Sexual Exploitation Law
The Department of Justice has launched an eight week consultation period on proposed measures to strengthen the law in order to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
02 July 2019
Teen Jailed For Sexual Offences
A teenage male has been jailed for a series of sexual offences. The youth was given a sentence of three years at Newry Youth Court on Monday 01 July- 12 months to be spent in custody and two years on licence. He will also be on the sex offender's register for life.
16 September 2019
Three Men Arrested Over 'Serious Sexual Assault' In Newtownards
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of rape after a serious sexual assault in Newtownards over the weekend. A young woman reported being assaulted by a number of men near Londonderry Park on the Portaferry Road in the early hours of Sunday morning, 15 September. The incident was reported at around 6.25am.
11 September 2019
Man Jailed For Rape & Sexual Assault
A 30-year-old man has been jailed after he was convicted of rape and two counts of sexual assault. The Lurgan man was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment on Tuesday 10 September at Craigavon Crown Court. Police have welcomed the sentencing and commended the female victim for pursuing her case.
30 April 2019
Belfast Man Jailed For Domestic Abuse Offences
A 33-year-old man from Belfast has been jailed after he was convicted of domestic abuse offences. The defendant was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, half to be served in custody and half on licence, after pleading guilty to common assault and attempting to choke his partner with intent to commit false imprisonment.