Kevin Lunney: Priests defend Fr Oliver O’Reilly over Sean Quinn complaint to Vatican

The Association of Catholic Priests has defended one of their members after Sean Quinn complained to the Vatican about a homily he had delivered condemning the torture of a Fermanagh executive.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st December 2019, 1:20 am

Kevin Lunney, 50, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), was snatched near his Co Fermanagh home and brutally assaulted in September.

Two weeks later Fr Oliver O’Reilly told his congregation in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, there was an “obvious cancer of evil in our midst” which needed to be “exorcised before someone is murdered”.

According to The Sunday Independent, Mr Quinn wrote that he and his family had been “frightened and intimidated by being falsely accused of complicity in the attack from the altar in public, by my own priest”.

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QIH founder Mr Quinn has parted company with the business and has consistently condemned those who have attacked his previous employees and property.

However, Fr Ray Donovan of the Association of Catholic Priests told Good Morning Ulster (GMU) yesterday that Fr Oliver “didn’t mention any names” in his address and that it was “the duty of every priest when a wrong has been done to speak out”.

GMU said Fr O’Reilly’s homily was made public in advance and that the priest said that he got a phone call from a “brazen Dublin caller” who asked him to make changes in it. Fr O’Reilly said that he himself has also been subject to intimidation, GMU said.

“He has and he has been under a lot of pressure but Fr Oliver seems to be a man of great resilience,” Fr Donovan replied.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he believed Fr O’Reilly “showed considerable courage in giving this homily and I commend him for doing so”.