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Church Paid Son of Fr Michael Cleary to Quit Chidhood Home

Sunday Independent, 10 August 2003

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin had issued legal proceedings to force Fr Michael Cleary's son out of his Dublin home before it was sold recently by the Church for €700,000.

The proceedings to get Ross Hamilton out of the house in Harold's Cross after both his parents died were settled two months ago. Ross Hamilton and his mother Phyllis, Fr Cleary's lover, lived in the house during their three decade-long affair.

Fr Cleary, one of Ireland's best-known priests, who played the role of "warm-up man" for the Pope during his 1979 visit, had his son with his former housekeeper. Fr Cleary met Phyllis Hamilton in 1967 when she was 17 and he was 34.

When Fr Cleary died in 1993, the Church allowed Mr Hamilton and his mother to live in the house after his death. However, after Phyllis Hamilton died in 2001 the Church decided to take possession of the red-brick house in Mount Harold Terrace.

Yesterday Mr Hamilton said he had been paid €40,000 to leave the house in which he had spent all of his youth. "They basically told me to 'take it or leave it'. I had no option but to leave the house and now I am living in a small pokey flat."

The Archdiocese confirmed that a sale had been agreed for the property. "The property has been sold for a price of €700,000. We have nothing more to say apart from that."