Sexual abuse allegations made against priests in 19 Catholic diocesan colleges throughout State

Published date25 May 2023
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
Run by almost every Catholic diocese in Ireland, such colleges were usually where its priests and bishops were recruited. In recent years however, due to the clerical child sex abuse crisis, it has become practice to appoint new bishops from outside each diocese as it was felt familiarity with abuser priests encouraged cover-ups in the past

It is unknown how many boys were sexually abused in these boarding schools, but The Irish Times, with the co-operation of Catholic Church authorities, has established that in this jurisdiction 19 such diocesan colleges have faced sexual abuse allegations against a total of 44 priests. Some 33 of these directly involve the local diocesan college, with similar allegations against a further 11 diocesan priests at other schools in the dioceses.

There are 26 Catholic dioceses on the island of Ireland, with the diocesan colleges of Derry, Armagh, Down and Connor, and Dromore in Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, neither the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, nor the diocese of Waterford and Lismore had diocesan colleges.

Of the 19 remaining dioceses contacted for relevant details by The Irish Times, only Cloyne failed to supply details as to whether abuse allegations were made against priests at its diocesan college, St Colman's in Fermoy, Co Cork. However, it is known that at least one priest at St Colman's College faced abuse allegations, which led to High Court proceedings in 2008. The case was settled when St Colman's College paid damages to the former pupil.

Survivors of abuse at fee-paying schools invited to come forward 'without fear' to scoping inquiry

In the diocese of Galway, eight priests faced sexual abuse allegations at its schools, of which five faced allegations from their period teaching at St Mary's Diocesan College in the city. There were also allegations against three further priests at other schools in the diocese. All allegations were reported to civil authorities.

None of the accused priests in Galway faced prosecution while "some" were sanctioned by the Church. "Total costs in relation to all school-related cases was under €100,000. This was paid from non-parish related monies," the diocese said.

The associated Clonfert diocese has received no allegations against priests who taught at its diocesan college, St Joseph's, Garbally, in Ballinasloe.

In Elphin diocese's Summerhill College, Sligo, and St Aloysius College, Athlone, child sex abuse allegations were made...

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