A Donegal-born priest is still awaiting to return to his parish – six months after he was cleared by the courts of sexual-assault charges.
However Inishowen priest Fr Eugene Boland says he is “extremely hopeful” that he will get the green light to do so in the new year.
Fr Boland, who is originally from Moville, was forced to stand down from public ministry in August 2010 after allegations had been made against him in the Derry diocese.
The 66 year old cleric was acquitted by a jury last June on sexual-assault charges brought as a result of allegations dating back 20 years.
He has spent the past six months explaining to parishioners and friends why he can’t return to the pulpit.
“A lot of people don’t understand Canon Law – and as a priest I’m bound by that too,” he told the Irish Independent.
“Parishioners had been very supportive and they want me back as soon as possible. Of course, I want to go back but I have to wait a little while longer. Hopefully the New Year will see it all finally resolved.”
Even though he was cleared unanimously on all five charges, Fr Boland must now await an investigation by the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.