Parish council looking at future of parochial house.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Parish council looking at future of parochial house. thumbnailThe parochial house beside St Patrick’s PS and St John the Evangelist.

THE future of the parochial house in Hilltown is to be considered after it emerged that paedophile priest Fr Malachy Finnegan sexually abused a child within the building.

Catholic parishioners were informed during Mass in Hilltown that the current parish priest would no longer be staying at the parochial house at night.

The decision was made after some community members said they would refuse to attend the parochial house or recognise it as a community hub after learning of the abuse that took place there.

Finnegan was parish priest for Clonduff parish in the 1990s.

One of his victims, Sean Faloon said he was abused by Finnegan as an altar boy from the age of 10.

He told how he was sexually abused by the priest, often in the bedroom of the parochial house, after Sunday Mass.

The current parish priest Fr Charles Byrne told the congregation: "It has been decided that I will no longer be staying in the parochial house here at night in light of what has happened.

"It has been arranged that I will stay in the parochial house in Warrenpoint for the time being until something is sorted out here in the parish."

A Dromore diocese spokesman said several parishioners expressed their concerns to Bishop John McAreavey about the parish priest residing in the house, before the bishop's resignation last week.

"The bishop gave assurances that this would be addressed as a matter of priority," said a Dromore diocese spokesman.

"Temporary arrangements were made within a few days and the parish priest communicated this to parishioners... the future of the parochial house is a matter for the parish finance council to resolve in the light of the needs of the parish including that of a new primary school."


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