Former Diocese of Derry priest banned from saying mass in France

A Priest involved in a out-of-court settlement after allegations of a sex assault has been banned from saying Mass where he now lives, in France, according to the Irish Independent.

Father Andrew McCloskey paid out €20,000 in 2005 to a man who claimed he had been sexually assaulted by him when he was 18. A second teenager also made allegations against the priest, though he never took legal action.

Fr McCloskey was later given a job within the church counselling sex abuse victims in the Diocese of Derry.

Fr McCloskey stood down from his role with the 'Hope Alive' group and from his position in Dungiven, when news of the out-of-court deal emerged in January 2005.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, a spokesman for the Derry Diocese insisted the church and civil authorities in France are aware of the allegations made against Fr McCloskey.

The statement added that the diocese is guided by the civil authorities and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

The priest told parishioners in January 2005 that he was taking a leave of absence saying he had made a mistake.

The abuse incident allegedly took place in the parochial house of St Mary's Church in the Creggan estate in Derry in 1992.

Fr McCloskey was transferred by the then Bishop Edward Daly shortly afterwards to the parish of Drumsurn 15 miles away.

Bishop Seamus Hegarty later admitted that a second allegation against Fr McCloskey had been made in 1999 but that he had gone ahead and appointed the priest to the abuse victim counselling role a year later.