17th June 2007
Statement by Bishop Joseph Duffy, at the 6:30pm Vigil Mass in Roslea, concerning Father Jeremiah McGrath
I am sure that by now you will be aware that Fr Jeremiah McGrath was sentenced to five years imprisonment following his conviction last month.
I have been told that he intends to appeal against the conviction, so I am not permitted to comment on the detail of the case. However, it is obvious that some areas of Fr McGrath’s lifestyle fell short of what you, and I, would expect of a priest. Indeed, Fr McGrath himself acknowledged this in the evidence that he gave during the trial. We all feel very let down.
This is a very sad and tragic case and I ask you to keep everyone involved in your thoughts and prayers.
However difficult we find it, we must all, each in our way, learn from what has happened. You have a new priest, Fr Peter O’Reilly, and I am sure you will support him and work with him and move forward together.
Fr McGrath’s future as a priest will now be considered by his Order, St Patrick’s Missionary Society. They will have to deal with this when the judicial process has concluded.
The Church is committed to the protection of children. For my part, I will see what lessons can be learned from this case. I am committed to, and support without reservation, the child protection policy of the Church.
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)