Priest involved in abuse allegations has moved from Strabane parish

A Strabane parish priest has said he “deeply regrets” that Catholic Church authorities didn't tell him about the past of a cleric they placed under his roof.

Moville native, Fr Declan Boland insisted he wouldn't have allowed Fr John McCullagh to live in the parochial house in Strabane if he had known about his secret payment to an alleged abuse victim.

His thoughts on the scandal emerged yesterday when he addressed parishioners during Mass.

Earlier this month it was reported that Fr McCullagh allegedly paid £12,000 to a woman who claimed she was abused by him.

Before ending Mass yesterday, Fr Boland read a short statement to parishioners in which he spoke of his personal distress at the events.

He said he had been unaware of the full details of Fr McCullagh’s past. When they did emerge, he said he had acted “swiftly and decisively”.

He told parishioners Fr McCullagh had been offered accommodation there by the former parish priest, and he had used it “from time to time”.

Fr Boland said he was familiar with Fr McCullagh’s circumstances “only to the extent of knowledge available in the public forum”.

He ended his statement by saying he appreciated the trust and confidence which parishioners had placed in him.