Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey has resigned as a result of mounting pressure

KRW LAW LLP is instructed by 7 victims and numerous witnesses of paedophile priest and former president of St Colman’s College Newry Malachy Finnegan.  In October 2017 a case was settled by an individual against The Diocese of Dromore and St Colman’s College Newry.  We believe that this was the highest agreed award in this jurisdiction in a historical abuse case and it was the first case to bring to light the prolific paedophile Malachy Finnegan




Since the recent significant settlement of a case on behalf of one of our clients and subsequent media attention, further victims and survivors of Malachy Finnegan and other paedophile priests have contacted KRW LAW.




Pressure has been mounting and the Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey resigned last night with immediate effect.  The reaction from survivors and victims’ has been was a great sense of relief and this has instilled hope that this could be the first step towards vindication.


The PSNI have agreed to set aside a dedicated team to deal with Malachy Finnegan complaints.


We have been hearing from numerous victims and witnesses of the vile abuses perpetrated on children by Malachy Finnegan over a period of four decades following the resignation of The Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey.  The Survivors and Victims have articulated a huge sense of relief and  vindication but see the resignation as a first step what must be a done to allow them to receive justice.


Survivors and Victims urgently are seeking:


Support from the local politicians support and invite the leaders of the political parties to make public statements in this regard.  They also would invite the Church to join them in their call for a public Inquiry and put their weight behind it and call upon Archbishop Eamon Martin to publicly support this.


A public Inquiry into clerical abuse in Northern Ireland tasked with full powers to get to the truth.


The Victims demand and deserve a public inquiry which is tasked with powers to get to the truth and enormity of clerical abuse in Northern Ireland.  This case has uncovered systemic failings dating back to 1971 but which have carried right through to March 2018 and would never have been uncovered but for the significant settlement by our client back in October 2017.


An investigation by the PSNI into the failures of the Church to fulfil their obligations under the Criminal Law Act 1967 as Section 5 requires an individual to refer to police within a reasonable time any information likely to be of material assistance in securing prosecutions.


The victims welcome the recent development that the PSNI have set aside a dedicated team tasked to deal with complaints regarding Malachy Finnegan.  This does not however go far enough.  There is evidence that the Church were aware of Malachy Finnegan’s criminal acts when he was still alive and as such they had a duty to refer this information to the then RUC.  We have been instructed that in 1994 the then Bishop of Dromore, Francis brooks was advised of allegation of abuse and asked the current Bishop of Dromore to assist in a pastoral capacity.


Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 requires such referrals to be made within reasonable time.  We will be lodging a complaint to the PSNI in this regard on behalf of our clients.


The victims have notified the Police Ombudsman regarding failings of the RUC surrounding their duty to investigate the crimes of Malachy Finnegan even when it was brought to their attention directly in 1996.


“Countless opportunities were missed over the years with Finnegan.  If the Church mean this rhetoric they are coming out with now and they want survivors and parents in the schools to trust them they should also be calling for a public inquiry and putting their weight behind it and giving forward every single document they have”


~ Victim 1 of Malachy Finnegan who does not wish to be named.


“I feel a huge sense of relief that it’s out because I knew there would be others like me.  I feel personally that there’s now an explanation for some friends and family as to why I am the way I am.  I had shut it away for 40 years and now I want answers and apologies and I want someone to put it right.  The lack of any kind of wording or sense of urgency from the Catholic Church, makes it harder for me and others.  People’s lives could have been different had they come out with this sooner.  I might not have went on the drink for years, I could have dealt with it.”            


~ Victim 2 of Malachy Finnegan who does not wish to be named.


Claire McKeegan KRW LAW LLP