A 67-YEAR-OLD Co Louth Catholic priest, who was the subject of a child-protection allegation, has been cleared after over two years to return to active ministry.
Father Oliver Brennan voluntarily stepped down immediately as parish priest of Blackrock and Haggardstown in August 2010 when the allegation was made.
The finding of the garda investigation was that the “allegations were totally lacking in credibility”. Similarly, the church inquiry concluded last Friday that the allegations were “fabricated and have not been substantiated”.
At a special Mass last night in Blackrock, near Dundalk, Co Louth, Fr Brennan. was reinstated. He is expected to be given a full apology by the church.
“My life has been on hold for two-and-a-half years,” Fr Brennan said. “I’m glad this ordeal has ended. I’m looking forward to restarting my life in active ministry.”
Speaking on the Marian Finucane programme on RTE Radio One last Saturday, he said,
“It was the worst thing in the world, to be accused of the worst crime of all.”
He said, initially, the ordeal made him bitter about the Church but said he no longer felt that way.
Many listeners called to express their support. Some of the callers said he should take a case against his accuser.
Fr Brennan did say some Blackrock parishioners wanted him to take a case, but he said:
“It’s very important to forgive.”