Carragher: Father Arthur Carragher CSSp

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Arthur V. Carragher CSSp

(some media coverage spells surname “Carraher”)

Irish-born priest, member of the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers).  Ordained 1950.  Served in Nigeria 17 years.  Taught at St. Mary’s College in Rathmines (Ireland) late 60s to early 70s. In 1971 came to Canada and became a member of  the TransCanada province of Spiritans. Served with the Spiritans in the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario.  Early to mid 90s spent several years in N. Ireland then returned to Canada.   2001 allegations of sex abuse dating to his years at St. Mary’s – admitted he had abused two brothers at the school.  No extradition treaty between Canada and Ireland so did not return to Ireland to face charges (plus claims he could not travel because of poor health).  After his return to Canada address listed as that of Laval House, a Spiritan home in Archdiocese of Toronto.   A 2004 Spiritan publication lists him as one of a group of Spiritans ministering in the Diocese of Hamilton. Died in Canada in January 2011.


20 February 2019:  “Abuse survivor’s memories triggered after report on Catholic priest

Winter 2011: Father Arthur Carragher tribute in Spiritan magazine Winter 2011

undated: “Recommendation following NBSCCI audit of the missionary congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers or Spiritans” by Mark Vincent Healy (Mark Healy was sexually abused by Father Carragher)

30 December 2001: Child abuse priest is safe from extradition

23 December 2001:  Tracked Down: Sex Abuse Priest Who is Hiding Out in Canada Says: I’m Not Coming Back


Unless otherwise indicated the following information is drawn from the Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory (OCD) and media (M)

10 January 2011:  died (M))

2010, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998: 121 Victoria Park Ave., Toronto (CCCD) (address for Laval House, a residence of the Holy Ghost Fathers/Spiritans)

2004:  August 2004 edition of Spiritan Missionary News lists Arthur Carragher as one of 33 “Spiritans in the Diocese of Hamilton” who is in “Parish Ministry.”

2001:  victims in Dublin, Ireland tried to have Carragher extradited to face charges.  Attempts failed because there is no extradition treaty between Canada and Ireland and a medical report stated that he was too ill to travel (M)

1998-1999: Associate Pastor, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church ( Father Carragher at St Joesph RC Church)

1997, 1996:  129 Euclid Avenue, Scarboroough, Ontario, MIC IK2 Phone:  416-284-4355 (address for a residence of the Holy Ghost Fathers/Spiritans) (Why the return to Canada?)

1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991:  Parochial House, Middletown, Armagh, North Ireland, BT60 4JE (CCCD) (What was Father Carragher doing at the Parochial House in Armagh?  Why did he leave Canada?)

1985-1986:  address for Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, Guelph, Ontario (Pastor Father W. McCormack CSSp (CCCD)

1980: Pastor, St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church, Hamilton, Ontario (OCD)

1973-74:  address for St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Guelph, Ontario (Pastor Father J.A. Mattice) (CCCD)

1971: transferred to Toronto to the Spiritan’s Trans Canada province (M)

1969-1973 (?) : teaching at St. Mary’s College, Rathmines (M)

molesting boys while at St. Mary’s – admitted to the abuse (M)

1952-1969:  served in Nigeria

1950: ORDAINED (CCCD & obit)


Teacher who admitted abusing children was returned to ministry

29 October 2012

CANADA: A SECOND priest accused by Mark Vincent Healy of abusing him between 1969 and 1973, when he was a boy at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, was Fr Arthur Carragher.

The priest, who died in Canada on January 10th, 2011, was ordained in 1952 and served in Nigeria for 17 years before joining the teaching staff at St Marys in 1969.

In 1971 he transferred to Toronto to the congregation’s Trans Canada province.

That move was described to The Irish Times in June 2011 by then Holy Ghost Irish provincial Fr Brian Starken as “a little bit strange”.

In 2001 two Dublin brothers made allegations of abuse against Carragher and attempts were made to have the priest extradited to Ireland to face charges.

These were frustrated as there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and Canada and a medical report stated Carragher was too ill to travel.

Carragher admitted the abuse of the brothers when they initiated a civil action against him in Canada. It is understood that they also received compensation.

Altogether Carragher was accused by four men, including Mark Vincent Healy, of abusing them when he was in Dublin.

According to a local Spiritans magazine, Carragher, despite his admission of abusing two Dublin brothers in 2002, and their receiving compensation, was still in ministry at Hamilton, Ontario, in 2004.

Contacted about Carragher, and his years in Nigeria, a spokesman for the Spiritan/Holy Ghost Fathers said that “whilst we share a concern that something may have happened during Carraghers years in Nigeria, no such information has yet come to light”.


Fresh allegations made against Irish order priests working in Africa

Spiritans congregation admits to abuse claims in Irish Times


Published Monday, October 29, 2012, 7:40 AM | Updated Monday, October 29, 2012, 9:24 AM


The religious order that runs some of Ireland’s biggest schools has been rocked by fresh allegations of child sex abuse in Africa.

The Irish Times reports that the Spiritans religious congregation has been hit by new allegations of abuse carried out by members while they were in ministry at schools in Africa.

The order has confirmed to the paper that the accounts of several victims contained in the report are consistent with reports they have received about named priests.

A spokesman told the Irish Times: “The congregation in Ireland expresses profound regret. The content of the reports is consistent with complaints that we have received about the individual priests mentioned.”

The Spiritans run some of the best-known schools in Ireland including Blackrock College, St Mary’s, Templeogue College and St Michael’s in Dublin, and Rockwell College in Tipperary.

The spokesman could not ‘comment on the specifics of the allegations’ put by the Irish Times.

But he said: “We deeply regret not only the abuse that has been inflicted by any member of the province on individual victims, whether in Ireland or overseas, but also the failings on the part of the province in the way we received or dealt with some complaints.

“The order is particularly conscious that some incidents of abuse by members of our province outside of Ireland may not have been brought to our attention.

“We will be moving to address this issue in the next phase of our safeguarding work.”

The reports in Monday’s Irish Times detail child abuse allegations against Fr Henry Moloney, arising from his time at Christ the King College (CKC), Bo, Sierra Leone, between 1973 and 1979.

The paper says that Fr Moloney, who resides at the congregation’s Kimmage Manor in Dublin, was sentenced in 2000 and 2009 for abusing four boys at St Mary’s College between 1968 and 1973, the years immediately before his appointment to CKC in Sierra Leone.

The report adds that in 1979 he returned from Sierra Leone to Blackrock College and was appointed to Rockwell College in 1980. He was there until 1996, when he was removed from ministry.

Further allegations are made against Fr Patrick Hannan when he was at St Teresa’s secondary school for boys in Nairobi, Kenya, and Fr Christopher Meagher at Rockwell College.

Concerns have also been reported about the record of Fr Arthur Carragher in Nigeria, where he served for 17 years before joining the teaching staff at St Marys College in 1969.

The paper says he transferred to Toronto in 1971 but was accused by four men of abusing them during his brief time in Dublin. In 2002 he admitted to abusing two of the men, and they were paid compensation.

He remained in ministry and died in Canada in 2011.

A review of the congregation’s child protection practices, published in September and conducted by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, found that 142 abuse allegations had been made against 47 Spiritan/Holy Ghost priests since January 1st, 1975.


Religious order denies claim by abuse victim

The Irish Times

Fri 06 Jun 2011

A DUBLIN man has claimed that a missionary congregation did not co-operate with the civil authorities as fully as claimed during an investigation of his alleged abuse by one of its priests in the city. The congregation, however, says it did so.

In 2007 Mark Vincent Healy said he had been abused in Ireland by two Holy Ghost (now known as Spiritans) missionary priests when they were teaching at St Mary’s College, Rathmines, in Dublin….


Child abuse priest is safe from extradition

Ireland on Sunday

30 December 2001

By George Clogg in Toronto

A Roman Catholic priest who admits to sexually abusing two boys in Dublin is living out his∙days in a Toronto retirement home because he cannot be extradited to face charges.

Northern Ire1and‐born Fr. Arthur Carragher (79) faces seven counts of indecent assault, each with a maximum penalty of seven years.

But Gardaí cannot compel him to return to this country, because Canada and Ireland do not yet share an extradition agreement.

The charges stem from allegations made by Alan and Maurice Murphy, distant
cousins of the priest, who claim he fondled them and forced them to engage in
oral sex over a four‐year period in the 1960s.

The boys were between the ages of eight and 15. They are now adults, and the
allegations were not made until 1999.

Speaking at his residence, adjacent to a Catholic school for boys, Fr. Carragher –a
member of the Spiritans order – said he did not dispute the allegations.

“Yes, they are all true. I appreciate the seriousness of the charges but Iʹm too ill to
face them,ʺ he said.


Tracked Down: Sex Abuse Priest Who is Hiding Out in Canada Says: I’m Not Coming Back

THE Sunday World has tracked down an elderly priest who is wanted by Gardaí for a string of child sex crimes.

The Sunday World

23 December 2001

Exclusive by Crime Correspondent Paul Williams

This is Father Arthur Carragher (79) who has been hiding from Irish justice in a
home for retired clergymen in Toronto, Canada.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in Dublin has recommended that the former
missionary face seven charges of sexually abusing two relatives when they were
young boys.

Amazingly the runaway priest actually admitted the offences this week when the
Sunday World caught up with him but said he has no intention of coming home to
face the law.

And when we put the sex abuse allegations to the pervert cleric he told us: “Yes they
are all true. I know the charges are serious but I’m not able to go back. I’m not well,
I’m just not well.”

Carragher who is originally from Northern Ireland, sexually abused two young

brothers – the children of Carragherʹs relatives at their Dublin home over a four year
period in the 1960s when the were aged between 8 and 15.


The allegations first came to light when one of the brothers decided to break his
silence which blighted his childhood and  adult life.

“What happened to me at Carragher’s hands was always in my mind. The anger had
been growing and growing inside me and I was taking it out on my wife. It destroyed my life,” Pat (not his real name) told the Sunday World.

“Carragher was and is a  cowardly slime bag. If he and his church stand for anything
he should come back and face up to what he did.

“And if he doesnʹt come home he should be forced to do so by the Church because
after all they claim to have a policy of forcing  offending clerics to face up to their

ʺAt the moment they are hiding this man even though he has admitted the abuse to
the Sunday World, added Pat who now lives in Italy.

ʺWhen I decided to talk about the abuse my family convinced me to go to
the Gardaí.

ʺThe detectives were brilliant and they conducted an in‐depth investigation, checking
out every detail of what I and my brother told them,ʺ he explained.

That investigation which began in early 1999 was headed by Detective Sergeant John
Ward of Cabinteely station.

His inquiries led him to Laval  House, a residence for retired clerics next door to a Catholic
high school for boys in suburban Toronto.

But Carragher refused to co‐operate with the Garda investigation and, through his
lawyer, claimed he was dying from cancer.

He also implied that he might come back voluntarily but that proved
to be a ruse.

In the meantime the DPP recommended that Carragher be arrested and charged with
seven counts of sex abuse ‐ five counts relate to Pat and the remainder his brother.

Unfortunately no extradition treaty exists between Canada and Ireland but following
the events of September 11 it is expected a treaty will be  signed between the two

Fr. Carragher is a member of the Spiritans a 300‐year old Catholic order founded in
Europe. He has lived in Toronto for the past three years.

Fr Carragherʹs lawyer, Scott Fenton, says his client has no intention of facing the

“As far as Iʹm concerned the matter is dormant having regard to Fr. Carragherʹs age
and very poor medical condition. Iʹm not aware of any effort to move anything
forward. The allegations are ancient and beyond historic,ʺ Fenton told us.

Carragher returned to Ireland in the late 1950’s after  serving 2O years as a missionary
in Nigeria.

“I was extending the church, making arrangements to open schools and educate the
young people. Their parents, many of whom were pagans, were encouraged to
attend church. I was encouraging them to send their children for a Christian
education,” the cleric claimed this week.

And then the pervert tried to explain his abuse of the two youngsters in Dublin.

He claimed that he was forced to flee Nigeria when war broke out and said he was
very “distressed” when he arrived in Dublin penniless with only the clothes on his
back. He  claimed he had malaria and was “upset”.

His voice shaking, he told the Sunday World: “I was looking for sympathy, and I
thought I had found sympathy with those two young men… I was upset and
uprooted from the place where I had been working for 2O years.”

He regularly visited Pat’s home where he was welcomed by their parents and slept
in the same room as the two innocent brothers.


At every possible opportunity when the parentsʹ backs were turned, Carragher molested them.

He forced them to indulge in sickening acts of oral sex saying that this was ʺsexual educationʺ. He told Pat and his brother, “This is what it feels like to be a man.”

Carragher unbelievably claimed that he had only abused these two boys although
he had access to children  throughout his clerical career.

This week Pat said he was glad that  at least Carragher had been exposed
to the world.

ʺIt would be much better if he could be brought back to face justice but I fear that this
evil abuser will die before any extradition treaty is
put through.

ʺI do not believe that me and my brother were the only ones he abused. He was
working in schools in Dublin and on the missions where people probably didnʹt
know any better,ʺ said Pat.

Fr. Carragher, the sick paedophile who is still in hiding today, says
he has not yet ʺaskedʺ his victims for forgiveness.

ʺNot yet. Iʹll think about it. I suppose I will come to do that… Iʹll ask them for


Priest may face extradition once treaty signed: Allegations from 1960s: Admits sexually abusing boys in Ireland

The National Post

18 December 2001

Joseph Brean

TORONTO – A self-confessed child molester might avoid justice in Ireland and live out his days in Canada because bureaucrats have yet to ratify an extradition treaty to which they have agreed in principle.

Father Arthur Carraher, a Roman Catholic priest in Toronto, faces seven charges of indecent assault in Dublin. The 79-year-old priest is in failing health, has had prostate surgery and perspires constantly.

An extradition agreement between Canada and the Republic of Ireland has been negotiated and agreed upon by both sides, but awaits final bureaucratic approval, said Patrick Riel, a Foreign Affairs spokesman. He could not say how long final approval will take.

As soon as it is signed, Sergeant John Ward of the Dublin police said he will file an extradition request for Fr. Carraher.

“I can’t move until it is [signed],” he said.

Canada has extradition agreements with 50 countries, including Haiti, Tonga, El Salvador and Liberia. For other countries, extraditions can be arranged through diplomatic channels on a case- by-case basis, said Patrick Charette, a spokesman for the Department of Justice. He would not say whether there has been any diplomatic effort to extradite Fr. Carraher.

One of Fr. Carraher’s alleged victims, Maurice Murphy, believes the priest has settled in Canada in an attempt to avoid legal action.

“He knows himself that if he goes the legal ways, it could take ages. And in that way, he doesn’t get caught,” Mr. Murphy said.

Mr. Murphy alleges that, in the 1960s, Fr. Carraher fondled him and his older brother several times in their parents’ home in Ireland, and forced the two boys to give and receive oral sex. They were between the ages of eight and 15.

Scott Fenton, a lawyer for Fr. Carraher’s Spiritan order, said prosecution is less urgent now because of the priest‘s frail condition.

“Given the passage of time, his health, etc., there are probably bigger priorities on the law-enforcement agenda right now…. My understanding was that the matter was dormant,” said Scott Fenton, Fr. Carraher’s lawyer.

Father Pat Fitzpatrick, the Ontario director of the Spiritan order, spoke to Fr. Carraher yesterday, but has not encouraged him to return to Ireland and face charges of his own volition.

“I’m not taking this matter lightly and I’m certainly not dismissing it,” Fr. Fitzpatrick said. “When I find out what exactly is going on, we will be in a position to make some decisions.”

He said the Spiritan order’s administration in Ireland knew nothing of the charges until yesterday.

Mr. Murphy, the alleged victim in five of the seven charges, said he would gladly return to Ireland from his home in Italy to testify against Fr. Carraher, whom he has not seen for many years. He said he avoided thinking about the abuse for 30 years, before convincing his brother that they should go to the police. He has since undergone psychotherapy.

Sgt. Ward said he is frustrated at the delays in prosecution, which may allow Fr. Carraher to die before facing justice.

“I absolutely believe [Mr. Murphy]. This happened and I know it happened. I have experience, and I’m telling you now, this person is telling the truth. He was abused by Arthur Carraher.”


Irish want abusive Toronto priest: Admits to molesting boys: Lack of extradition pact with Ireland blocks formal charges

The National; Post

17 December 2001

An elderly priest who admits to sexually abusing two young boys in Ireland is living out his days in a Toronto-area home for retired clergy.

He has no intention of facing the charges against him in Dublin, and police cannot compel him because Canada and Ireland do not share an extradition agreement.

Father Arthur Carraher, 79, faces seven charges of indecent assault, each with a maximum penalty of seven years, said Sergeant John Ward, the investigating officer in Dublin.

The charges stem from allegations made by Alan and Maurice Murphy, distant cousins of Fr. Carraher, who claim he fondled them and forced them to engage in oral sex, often with their parents close by, over a period of four years in the 1960s. The boys were between the ages of eight and 15.

They are now adults, and the allegations were not made until 1999, when Maurice convinced his older brother to go to the police.

In an interview yesterday at his residence, adjacent to a Catholic high school for boys, Fr. Carraher said he does not dispute the Murphy brothers’ allegations.

“Yes, they’re all true,” he said.

He said he appreciates the seriousness of the charges, but he is too ill to face them.

“I’m not able to go back. I’m not well, I’m just not well,” Fr. Carraher said.

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions, acting on Sgt. Ward’s report, instructed police in late 1999 to arrest Fr. Carraher, but he was in Canada. Ireland is currently developing an extradition agreement with Canada, which would allow Canadian police to arrest and deliver him.

“Until such time as that is ratified, I can’t touch him,” Sgt. Ward said. He has pressed Irish authorities for an idea of when it will be signed, but has yet to receive an answer.

Fr. Carraher is a member of the Spiritans, a 300-year-old Roman Catholic order founded in Europe, and has lived at the Spiritans’ home in Toronto‘s east end for more than three years.

The Ontario director of the Spiritans, Father Pat Fitzpatrick, said the order has been aware of the investigation since it began in 1999, but has not been informed of formal charges. In Irish law, charges are not made formal until the accused is brought before the court.

Fr. Fitzpatrick said he has not encouraged Fr. Carraher to return to Ireland.

Fr. Carraher’s lawyer, Scott Fenton, described the allegations as “ancient … beyond historic.”

“As far as I’m concerned, the matter is dormant, having regard to Fr. Carraher’s age and very poor medical condition. I’m not aware of any effort to move anything forward,” Mr. Fenton said.

Mr. Fenton said he was surprised to hear of his client’s admission and could offer no explanation.

Sgt. Ward dismissed Fr. Carraher’s claim that he is too ill to face trial. “If there is to be some sympathy for him or some lenience, that’s a matter for the court. It’s my job to bring him before the court…. I have a duty to do and I intend to do it,” he said.

Patrick Charette, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Canada has no case file on Fr. Carraher, and that any possible diplomatic discussion of his case would not be public.

Fr. Carraher, a native of Northern Ireland, returned to Ireland in the late 1950s after 20 years of missionary work in Nigeria.

“I was extending the church, making arrangements to open schools and educate the young people,” he said.

“Their parents, many of whom were pagans, were encouraged to attend [church]. I was encouraging them to send their children for a Christian education.”

His work ended when foreign workers were forced to flee through French territory when the region fell into war. He said he was very distressed when he arrived near Dublin with no money and only the clothes on his back.

In staggering speech, Fr. Carraher yesterday repeated that he was “upset” at the time and that he had malaria.

“I was looking for sympathy, and I thought I had found sympathy with those two young men…. I was upset and uprooted from the place where I had been working for 20 years,” he said.

He said he has abused no one other than Alan and Maurice.

Fr. Carraher is a distant cousin of the Murphys who visited their home frequently and slept on a spare bed in the boys’ bedroom.

According to the allegations, Fr. Carraher fondled them late at night and forced them to perform and receive oral sex. Maurice recalled listening as Fr. Carraher allegedly molested his older brother.

Maurice also recounted a visit alone with Fr. Carraher to a seaside resort, where he claims he was molested in the water and later in a borrowed trailer, where he slept in a bed with Fr. Carraher.

In his statement to police, Alan Murphy said Fr. Carraher described his actions as “sex education,” and would often tell him that “this is how it feels like to be a man.”

Maurice recalled being terrified, at about age 14, when he learned in a phone call to his home that Fr. Carraher was coming to visit. He broke down in tears and refused to go home out of fear.

“My mother would go to the bathroom or into the kitchen for a minute and he’d have his hands down my trousers. He was a very sly kind of man, he obviously felt I was vulnerable,” Maurice said.

“He was sharp enough always to have a towel handy so there wouldn’t be too much mess.”

Maurice Murphy now works as a seasonal labourer and tour guide near Siena in northern Italy, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Alan Murphy is a firefighter in London.

Maurice said he would like to see Fr. Carraher brought to justice before a court, but believes the ageing, sick priest will die first.

He said he waited so long to report the abuse because he wanted to forget it. “It’s left a bitterness inside me,” he said, adding that he has had troubles with his marriage and emotional problems. He has recently started a campaign of intensive psychotherapy.

Yesterday, Fr. Carraher said he has not asked the brothers for their forgiveness. “Not yet,” he said. “I’ll think about it. I suppose I will come to do that … I’ll ask them for forgiveness.”

11 Responses to Carragher: Father Arthur Carragher CSSp

  1. john tobin says:

    I was molested by Christopher Meagher at St Josephs in 1954 and also physically abused by him many times

  2. Sylvia says:

    I am always saddened to hear that someone was molested as a child, but am also always happy to see that those who ensured such abuse at the hands of a priest are speaking out. Good for you john!

    I am currently visiting in the States so have no access to directories which might tell me a little more about father Meagher’s time in Canada. Can you help? Do you know, for example, how long he was at St, Joseph’s? and do you know how long he was in Canada?

  3. john tobin says:

    I didn’t know he was in Canada but I do know that he was at Rockwell, St Josephs junerate scholastics from 1953 to 1958 He wasn’t fit to be in charge of young boys at all. He shouldn’t even be in charge of animals. He was removed suddenly at Easter 1958. I do know he abused other boys as well.

  4. 1yellowknife says:

    So sorry to learn of this.

  5. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    This sounds all too familiar. Poor Father, he was so lonely and unloved that he had to resort to oral sex with two underage boys who were terrified of him.
    Richard Sipe is so right! Mike.

  6. June says:

    Arthur Carragher was a known molester of boys in the city of Guelph (province Ontario), Canada in the 1970s. One of his tricks was to go camping with them.

    • Troy Bridgeman says:

      Hi June

      Can you or anyone you know provide more details about Carragher’s activities in Guelph? I am researching his crimes with a team of investigators from Ireland, England and Ontario. I promise to keep your identity private. You mentioned he took boys camping. I am curious to know more about that because there was a children’s camp east of Guelph operated by the Catholic Church that people have told us to look at.
      My name is Troy Bridgeman and my contact info is 519 824-5008 or email

  7. Pingback: OCSTA Chaplain Fr Fitzpatrick. Did he do enough to bring a fellow priest admitted sex abuser to justice? – CIA Blog

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