The Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian has said his diocese has been cooperating fully with Gardai and Tusla after a former priest was charged with 26 counts of child sex abuse.
The 85-year-old former cleric was charged with the incidents which relate to two young girls in Donegal in the 1970s.
Bishop McGuckian last night issued a statement through his spokesperson.
He said “The diocese has been cooperating fully with the Garda and Tusla. As this case is active in the court at present, we are not permitted to make any further comment.
“We are committed to assisting and supporting anyone who has been a victim of clerical abuse in seeking justice.”
The former priest appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth on Saturday where the case was adjourned for the preparation of a book of evidence.
The then-priest is charged with assaulting two alleged victims, on dates between 1972 and 1975.
Detective Garda John Gallagher of Milford garda station gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.
He said he arrested the accused at his rented hostel accommodation in Dublin for the purpose of charging him.
He was taken to the Bridewell station in central Dublin where the three counts of indecent assault were put to him.
The accused made no reply after caution and was handed copies of the charge sheets.
Det Gda Gallagher said there was no objection to the accused’s bail subject to conditions.
Judge Smyth granted bail in the man’s own bond of €500, with no cash lodgement required.
Under conditions, he is to notify gardai of any change of address and have no contact, directly or indirectly, including by electronic means with any witnesses in the investigation.
He is to be of good behaviour and commit no offences.
The DPP directed trial on indictment, Det Gda Gallagher said.
The priest addressed the court only to confirm that he was in receipt of an old age pension. Judge Smyth asked if he had any other means to pay his legal fees.
“No,” he replied.
The judge granted free legal aid and remanded the accused on bail to Letterkenny District Court.
To report a concern, or complaint of child abuse, either current or historical, please contact Margaret Northage the Designated Liaison Person for the diocese on 086 2183 011 or you can go directly to the statutory authorities:
Tusla (Child & Family Agency) – tel: 074 91 23672/23770,
Gardaí National Protective Services Bureau – tel: 01 6663430/6663435.
In an emergency, please contact Letterkenny Garda Station on 074 91 67100.
Free Counselling & Support is available through Towards Healing, an independent organisation providing professional support for people who have experienced institutional, clerical or religious abuse in Ireland.
Freephone – RoI: 1800 303416,
Freephone – N.Ireland & UK: 0800 0963315,
Freephone – Hearing Impaired: 085 8022 859