Statement from Bishop Noel Treanor concerning James Donaghy

20 Feb 2015

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has informed the Diocese of Down and Connor that His Holiness, Pope Francis has dismissed James Donaghy from the clerical state on his own authority and for the good of the Church (ex officio et pro bono Ecclesiae). This means that Mr Donaghy is not permitted to function as a priest under any circumstance, public or private.

The decision decreed by Pope Francis has been previously communicated privately to the victims and to James Donaghy.

On behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Down and Connor, I again extend my deepest sorrow and apologise to survivors who suffered such pain at the hands of someone in whom they had placed their trust. I hope that this decision will assist those affected on their journey towards healing.

I assure all that the Diocese remains fully committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults with comprehensive structures of safeguarding in place throughout the diocese supported by specialist personnel and thousands of trained volunteers. The Diocese is also committed to bringing healing to the victims of abuse.

The Diocese is conscious of the right to privacy of the victims and will make no further comment.

The Diocesan Policy and Procedures advise anyone who may have a concern of a safeguarding nature to contact the PSNI, Social Services, or the Diocesan Designated Safeguarding Officer (Telephone: 028 90492798).

Notes for Editors:

  •  James Donaghy stepped down from his duties in March 2004 and has not worked as a priest since. He further resigned his office of Parish Priest of Bangor in July 2009.
  • James Donaghy was convicted in December 2011 of 23 sex abuse charges against three individuals and sentenced to 10 years in jail on 10th February 2012.
  • James Donaghy was convicted in July 2013 of a further five charges against an individual and sentenced to 2 years to run concurrently with the previous custodial sentence.