.- Pope John Paul II has dismissed two priests of the Ferns Diocese in Co Wexford from the clerical state, reported Irish Public Radio yesterday. This is the first defrocking of priests for sexual abuse in Ireland’s recent history. The president of the National Conference of Priests in Ireland, Fr. John Littleton, welcomed the Vatican's decision as a good disciplinary measure and a good means to protect children.
A Vatican spokesperson confirmed the dismissals but did not offer or confirm the names of the priests.
However, Irish Public Radio reported on Fr. Donal Collins, who was given a four-year sentence with three years suspended in 1998 for indecent assault and gross indecency against teenage boys, and Fr. James Doyle, who was convicted of indecent assault on a teenage boy in 1990 and given a one-year suspended sentence.
At Easter 2002, Bishop Brendan Comiskey of Ferns resigned because of his poor handling of child abuse allegations against the late Fr. Sean Fortune.