The Catholic bishop of Raphoe, covering most of Donegal, has expressed “profound sorrow and shame” about the abuse of children carried out by former cleric Eugene Greene.
Bishop Alan McGuckian made the statement after news emerged that Greene had died – apparently some months ago.
The statement said that the Catholic Church had dismissed him from the “clerical state” in 2004 and ever since he left jail in 2008 “the diocese has not known his whereabouts”.
Bishop McGuckian said: “The news of the death of Eugene Greene has reopened the hurt of those whom he violated, their loving families and communities across the Diocese of Raphoe.
“On behalf of the diocese I wish to express my profound sorrow and shame at the abuse which he perpetrated on innocent children.
“On February 26, 2019, An Garda Síochána informed the diocese that Eugene Greene died last November in Cork.
“Until that contact from the Gardaí, the diocese was not aware of his death.”
He added the church had informed Tusla, the child and family agency, of this information.
He added: “While at all times honouring the wish of those survivors who may not want to be contacted by the Church, I wish to offer my support and invitation to meet with anyone who has suffered abuse.”
RTE’s Raidió na Gaeltachta today said it “understands that he was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea”.
It says he was 91.
The Irish Times reported that he was jailed for 12 years at Donegal Circuit Court in 2000, when he pleaded guilty to 41 sample charges of sexual assault against 26 children in Donegal parishes between 1965 and 1982.
It said that his crimes – which included repeatedly buggering altar boys – only came to light after a victim tried to blackmail him, and he reported this to the police.
He was an alcoholic, and the sentencing judge also reportedly said that his victims had turned to drink as a result of the abuse he inflicted.