Priest hits back at senator’s abuse claim

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By Louise Hogan

Saturday July 30 2011


A PRIEST named in the Seanad as a suspected child abuser has broken his silence to protest his innocence.

Fr Donncha Mac Carthaigh also hit out at Senator Mark Daly, who earlier this week used parliamentary privilege to publicly name the member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart order. Mr Daly alleged the order failed to fulfil child-safety guidelines to keep priests suspected of child abuse away from young people.

In his first public statement, Fr Mac Carthaigh last night said he had never been convicted of an offence in the courts. He claimed Mr Daly abused parliamentary privilege — which protects members from any legal repercussions — to name an “innocent person”.

Fr Mac Carthaigh also strenuously denied his sibling had been involved in investigating an allegation of sexual abuse lodged against him.

In a speech to the Seanad, Mr Daly stated an initial inquiry into a complaint of sexual abuse from the 1980s against Fr Donncha Mac Carthaigh had been investigated by his brother, Fr Ciaran Mac Carthaigh, who had been head of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Order in Ireland. No suggestion of any impropriety or wrongdoing had been made in relation to Fr Ciaran Mac Carthaigh.

Fr Donncha Mac Carthaigh last night said he strenuously “denies the false allegations”.

A solicitor on behalf of the priest stated all allegations made against Fr Mac Carthaigh at Colaiste an Chroi Naofa boarding school in Carraig na bhFear, Co Cork, where he had taught, were taken seriously by the order and reported by its delegate to gardai.

Fr Mac Carthaigh said he had “fully co-operated” with investigations. The solicitor stated the DPP decided in each case there was “no case for prosecution”.

“Fr Mac Carthaigh is an innocent person. Senator Daly by his abuse of parliamentary privilege has seriously damaged his reputation and good name and has endeavoured to destroy his innocence in law,” his solicitor stated.


Mr Daly last night said his “one concern is child safety”. Addressing the Seanad, Mr Daly said the Sacred Heart Missionaries did not properly monitor Fr Mac Carthaigh’s movements. The senator claimed this was despite the priest facing seven sex-abuse allegations, including one allegedly settled out of court.

The priest was placed under a restricted ministry order in 1996, which was intended to limit his travel, work and access to children. However, he went to Fatima and Rome.

The Sacred Heart Missionaries order said it had met with Mr Daly and passed on details of his concerns to gardai and sought guidance from the National Office for Safeguarding Children.

Fr Mac Carthaigh was not a priest in the Diocese of Cloyne and the allegations do not relate to Cloyne.

– Louise Hogan

Irish Independent


Priest unmasked in Seanad lies low as abuse storm grows

29 July 2011

THE priest at the centre of the latest child abuse allegations in Cloyne was lying low yesterday as the senator who publicly named him again blasted his religious order.

Fr Donncha Mac Carthaigh was named under Seanad privilege by Senator Mark Daly as a suspected child abuser.

According to Mr Daly the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart order is not following its own child safety guidelines designed to keep priests suspected of child abuse away from children.

The senator and the religious order both released statements last night, as Fr Mac Carthaigh remained silent on the controversy.

A man peeked from behind the blinds of his apartment in Cork, but would not come outside to talk to waiting reporters.

Senator Daly said in his statement that he was “strongly concerned about the ability of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to ensure that its child safety guidelines are being followed so that harm is not caused to defenceless children”.

Speaking in the Seanad earlier this week, Mr Daly said the Sacred Heart Missionaries did not properly monitor Fr Mac Carthaigh’s movements — even though he has previously faced seven sex-abuse allegations, one of which was settled out of court.

Despite this, the priest was subsequently able to train under-age Gaelic football teams and was even a selector for the county minor team.

In 1996 he was placed on restricted ministry but breached the conditions on several occasions, including going on trips to Fatima and Rome.


Mr Daly said last night: “In my opinion the order is not making sufficient efforts to assist the victims of child abuse at the hands of priests in their order.

“I remain gravely concerned and thoroughly convinced that this order has not and is not taking sufficient steps to protect children in the Cork area and beyond.”

Yesterday the Sacred Heart Missionaries apologised to anyone who had been abused by members of the order and appealed to people to report any such instances to the gardai.

Fr Mac Carthaigh is living at the Sacred Heart Missionaries campus in Cork city.

John Fitzgerald, who works at the campus, asked that all enquiries be directed to the Sacred Heart Missionaries’ head office in Dublin instead.

In a statement, the order said: “We have met with Senator Mark Daly, heard his concerns and since then we have passed the details of his concerns on to An Garda Siochana.

“In keeping with our policies and practices, we have also responded to the issues raised and in doing so have kept the National Office for Safeguarding Children informed and sought their guidance.

“Recently we invited the national office to review all our procedures and information available to us on this critically important matter.

“Persons who have allegations made against them have been taken out of active ministry and are subject to restrictions in regard to access and travel. We again sincerely apologise to those who were abused by members of our order.”

It also emerged last night that Fr Mac Carthaigh was not one of 19 priests listed with pseudonyms in the Cloyne Report as he belonged to the diocese of Cork and Ross.

– David Forsythe and John Cooney
Irish Independent

1 Response to Priest hits back at senator’s abuse claim

  1. Sylvia says:

    It will take nothing short of a full-fledged investigation into the allegations against the priest, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the police to get to the bottom of this one.

    If the allegations are all outright lies, why, I wonder, was Fr Donncha Mac Carthaigh “placed under a restricted ministry order in 1996, which was intended to limit his travel, work and access to children”?

    We shall see….

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