£150k payout for victim abused by paedophile priest Fr Malachy Finnegan

A man who was abused by a paedophile priest at a Co Down school is to receive £150,000 in damages.

By Alan Erwin
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 3:11 pm

The payout forms part of a settlement reached at the High Court in his claim for historic physical and sexual assaults inflicted by the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.

He is also to meet the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland to be given an apology in person, and have the costs of his ongoing counselling covered under the terms of the resolution.

Now aged in his late 50s, the man sued the board of governors at St Colman’s College in Newry and the Diocese of Dromore for alleged negligence and failures to protect him from Finnegan.

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Father Malachy Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman's College from 1967 to 1987. He was accused of a long campaign of child sexual abuse but never prosecuted or questioned by police

During a five-year period in the 1970s as a boarding pupil at the school he was subjected to excessive corporal punishment, which involved being beaten and struck with canes, leather straps and wooden rods, according to his case.

Sexual assaults were also inflicted, leaving him humiliated and traumatised.

Finnegan taught and worked at St Colman’s College from 1967 to 1987, spending the last decade as the school’s president.

The priest, who died in 2002, was accused of a long campaign of child sexual abuse but never prosecuted or questioned by police about claims made against him.

In 2018 it emerged that the Diocese of Dromore had settled a previous claim made by one of his alleged victims.

At that stage the board of governors at St Colman’s condemned the physical, sexual and emotional abuse inflicted by Finnegan while he worked there.

His image was also removed from the school’s photographs.

The man who brought the latest civil action attended court with his wife today for the announcement of the settlement.