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World News

Paedophile priest's victim receives record £400k settlement

by Heather Preston

A man from Northern Ireland who was abused by Malachy Finnegan as a child has received a £400,000 settlement – thought to be the largest payout in the Finnegan case to date.

The 51-year-old, who has chosen to remain anonymous, experienced three years of abuse at the hand of the paedophile priest whilst attending St Coleman's College in Newry in the 1980's.

Finnegan, who taught there before becoming a parish priest in Clonduff, County Down, is alleged to have committed sex crimes against children across the Diocese of Dromore over four decades prior to his death in 2002.

The Northern Ireland diocese includes parts of County Antrim, County Down and County Armagh.

Legal representatives for the abuse survivor, KRW Law, said the settlement "is the biggest ever for a victim of abuse by Malachy Finnegan".

KRW's Owen Winters said the suffering the victim endured "reached a new level of depravity" and detailed "repeated abuse" including "rape during school hours".

The firms said a settlement was reached in the two-year-old case after "intensive discussions and negotiations".

Finnegan, who died in 2002 was accused of sexually abusing numerous children but was never prosecuted.

The Diocese of Dromore launched a redress scheme for abuse survivors in 2021 in an effort to bring healing to victims.

A statement from the Diocese at the time said that it "apologises unreservedly for the hurt and damage caused to victims and survivors of any priest or church representative acting under its authority".

"The Diocese of Dromore finds such behaviour towards children and vulnerable people abhorrent, inexcusable and indefensible," the statement continued.

The Diocese said it "is willing to commit whatever resources it has available for the purpose of redress to this scheme, even if that should exhaust those resources".

Some 70 people have come forward with abuse-related allegations against the Diocese over the past 35 years, most of which relate to Malachy Finnegan.

The scheme, capped at £80,000 per individual, has secured damages for 15 victims to date, totalling approximately £2 million.



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