A GAY Catholic priest has today been awarded 27 per cent of a home he once shared with his lover, former Franciscan friar Hugo Crawford.
Rose Cottage, in Letterbarrow, is to be now divided, with Mr Crawford getting a 73 per cent share of any future sale.
Judge Keenan Johnson told Donegal Town Circuit Court today that he had calculated ownership of the property based on the amount of money he believed each party had contributed to the property.
He found Father Rosbotham, a curate in Ballina, Co Mayo, had made a contribution of €22,500 to the cottage whilst Mr Crawford’s contribution amounted to just over €59,000.
The court heard yesterday how Fr Rosbotham and Mr Crawford met in the 1980s when they were both Franciscan brothers.
Mr Crawford quit the order and paid IR£25k for the house in 1994.
In 2000 and 2002 he had applied to add Fr Rosbotham’s name to the title deeds as by that stage the priest had also left the Franciscans – which has a vow of poverty and a ban on ownership of property – and had become a curate in Ballina.
Judge Johnson said before delivering his judgement: “They are both clear very decent men who still have considerable regard for each other. They have dedicated their lives to helping others, Fr Rosbotham as a priest and Mr Crawford as a carer.
“I think it is unfortunate that this matter had to be aired in court and it certainly strikes me as a case that was tailor-made for mediation. Had the parties agreed to mediation, the matter could have been dealt with in private, with each of the parties retaining ownership of the ultimate resolution.”