Fr Joseph McGee is the leader of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart, who have been held up as one of the worst offenders of abuse after an audit of sex abuse in the Catholic Church was published today.
Fr.McGee, who is from Convoy, said he is deeply sorry for what happened to so many people at the hands of priests in his order.
And he promised that steps are being taken to make sure it never happens again.
He admitted that he was aware that as late as last year there are complaints that at least one young man committed suicide as a result of being abused by fellow priests in his own order.
Fr McGee said “We are full of shame and all I can do is offer our sincere and deepest apology to the people who came to us and felt they weren’t heard and to people who were abuse din our care,” he said.
The Donegal priest became leader of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart last year.
He said that since coming into office and being made aware of the complaints of abuse, he contacted Gardai, the HSE and other bodies to see what he could do to address the situation.
“I feel ashamed and I am united in that shame by my own reliioogus community. I want to commit myself to help al of us to change that culture and aporach to anyone who comes forward to make an allegation.
“I feel very shamed and I am united in that shame by many of our members.
“I want to commit as leader to change that culture and our society for anyone who wants to make an allegation against any of our members.
“It is difficult to change a culture that has been there for many years but there is a willingness to learn and listen,” he said.