Fr. Andrew McCloskey
Two priests are “not in active ministry” following allegations of child sex abuse, a diocesan spokesman said. Fr. Gerard John McCallion was jailed for two years at Derry Crown Court in January 1996 after pleading guilty to nine charges of indecent assault of two girls aged nine and ten in Derry’s Creggan estate between May 1987 and August 1988. The diocese said six priests have been suspended or stood down following sex abuse allegations. Fr. Andy McCloskey made a five figure payment without liability to a man who alleged the priest had made a sexual approach to him in 1992, when he was aged 18. Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty, reinstated Fr. McCloskey in 1993.
Derry Diocesan Issues 2005-2006
To begin with we were numerically strongest in Derry diocese, whose bishop, Dr Seamus Hegarty became the focus of a BBC Spotlight programme in early 2005. The programme focused first on his handling of allegations of sexual abuse against a priest, Andrew McCloskey, who had inexplicably been appointed (despite these known allegations), to a church-sponsored role in actually counselling victims of abuse!
Having failed to explain this, Bishop Hegarty was then confronted with the fact that he had imposed an additional 3% levy on parish collections in the diocese without consulting or informing parishioners – as he had promised his priests he would do in November 2004. This was to allow the diocese to make a contribution to the Bishops’ ‘Stewardship Trust’ – an all-island fund they had set up in1996 to compensate victims of clerical sex abuse.
This revelation caused a storm in the diocese, leading to a meeting of priests that voted to return the money. Bishop Hegarty apologised, assuring his people that they had a right to know where their money went. (Nevertheless, he was later to re-impose the 3% levy in 2009, again without explanation or forewarning.)
Continuing media curiosity about the Stewardship Trust led in May 2005 to a query to VOTFI about our position on continuing lack of information on contributions to the Stewardship Trust from the Derry diocese. As a consequence we issued our first statement to the media in May 2005.
For more on these secret payments, click here.