THERE was joy, applause and even cheers at the vigil Mass on Saturday evening at St Oliver Plunkett Church Blackrock when Cardinal Sean Brady announced to the congregation that former Parish Priest Fr Oliver Brennan has been fully cleared by the Catholic Church investigation into allegations of child abuse which were made against him.
Fr Brennan had already been cleared last November in an investigation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Fr Brennan spoke to the Democrat about his two-year ordeal, the long wait for his name to be fully cleared.
“It has been two years since I have been without a ministry, and a year since I was told my the PSNI that the allegations against me were false.
“From the very beginning the PNSI could tell me I was innocent, but the Church took up its own investigation and this went to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome.
“I expected that investigation to be completed in June but it has taken until now.”
“In the past the Church did not deal properly with actual abuse cases, but now it investigates everything even if the allegations are false.”
“It has been two very difficult years. I will not be back working in Haggardstown as changes and parochial appointments have already been made.
“But the Cardinal contacted me on Friday and told me the news so I am looking forward to taking up a new ministry as soon as possible.
“Hopefully I will have news by the end of the week.
“I was not at Mass on Saturday evening when the announcement was made but I believe that people were delighted and I grateful for their support and good wishes.”
The allegation against Fr Brennan was supposed to have occurred over 30 years ago.
In August 2010 the Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh Gerard Clifford announced at Mass in Blackrock that the allegation had been made and that Fr Brennan would stand down from his ministry until the investigation was completed.
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