Fermanagh priest jailed for five years

A Fermanagh priest who gave thousands of pounds to a County Antrim man to finance the grooming of a young girl, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Jeremiah McGrath, 63, originally from Rosslea, gave more than £20,000 to convicted paedophile William Adams to shower a 12-year-old Liverpool girl with gifts.

Adams, 38, originally from Belfast, raped the girl repeatedly over a six-month period in 2005.

It is understood the priest met Adams in a homeless hostel in Dublin in 1988. They subsequently developed a sexual relationship.

However, McGrath denied all charges and insisted he had no knowledge that Adams was abusing the girl and claimed the cash was linked to his heavy gambling habit.

Adams, who pleaded guilty to rape and abuse of the girl, was sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of seven and a half years before he is considered for release.

In a statement welcoming the sentences, the girl's family said they were deeply traumatised by "the lengthy investigation into these heinous crimes which were carried out by these two evil individuals".

They added: "Father Jeremiah McGrath had full knowledge that Billy Adams was a convicted child rapist and was aware of the serious danger posed by Billy Adams to all children."


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

30 October 2018
Greysteel Massacre Remembered 25 Years On
The enduring pain and trauma of the Greysteel murders remains 25 years later, as Northern Ireland remembers the night of October 30, 1993 when eight people were killed by a loyalist paramilitary group.
15 October 2018
Shankill Bomb Atrocity To Be Remembered 25 Years On
Next week will see a series of commemorative events take place around Belfast to mark 25 years since the Shankill bomb that killed nine people. The attack on 23 October 1993 came with no-warning. Nine people lost their lives in the bombing of Frizzell's fish and chip shop, including two children aged seven and 13.
21 August 2019
Woman Convicted Of Animal Welfare Offences
A Belfast woman has been banned from keeping animals for ten years after she was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a pony. Phyllis Burns of Rosapena Walk was handed a five month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, at Lisburn Magistrates Court.
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.
01 July 2019
First Day For New PSNI Chief Constable
Today, Monday 01 July, marks the first day on the job for the new PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne. The 56-year-old senior police officer succeeds Sir George Hamilton, who is retiring after five years in the post.