Following recent media coverage and reporting, a team has been set up within Public Protection Branch of PSNI to investigate the circumstances of abuse committed by Father Malachy Finnegan who, for some time, worked in the Diocese of Dromore. While Father Finnegan died in 2002, and therefore can no longer be held accountable in a court of law, we want to:
• Establish and take action against any living offender, from that time, and importantly assess if there are any current child safeguarding risks.
• Determine if there was any other abuse of children committed by any other person, other than Fr Finnegan, at St. Colman’s College when Fr Finnegan worked there between the mid/late 60’s to the mid/late 80’s.
• Establish whether there are any lessons to be learned from the way in which authorities acted to safeguard children, whether collectively or individually.
• Ascertain when any authority first became aware of Father Finnegan’s offending behaviour; what action was taken to ensure adequate safeguarding was implemented; and what information, if any, about his offending was reported to the police service at that time.
If you were abused by Father Malachy Finnegan, or abused by any other person at St. Colman’s between 1967 and 1987, the investigation team would like to hear from you. Please report the matter directly to the PSNI on ‘101’, the non-emergency number.
If you have been the victim of any sexual or physical violence or abuse, whether recently or in the past, whether connected to any church or any school or not, or if you are the parent of a child this has happened to, report the matter directly to the police service on ‘101’, the non-emergency line. In an emergency situation dial the police emergency number ‘999’. Specially trained officers will investigate what has happened to you.
We must remind you that at no time should the name of any victim, offender or witness be disclosed on any media platform, as this has the potential to damage any future legal proceedings. Any such information should be passed to the PSNI Public Protection team.