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Irish Times, Thursday, 14 June 2007

[I believe that this is the "Father Alpha' case in the Ferns Report'.

Father Kinsella has always maintained his innocence. In 2002, the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to proceed with a CRIMINAL prosecution. Now the three accusers have pulled out of their CIVIL action in the High Court.

In what way was the Catholic Church negligent in investigating these allegations? In what way was Bishop Brendan Comiskey to blame?

Rory Connor
15 June 2007]

A long-running action in which three men had alleged that they were sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Ferns was struck out mid-hearing with no order at the High Court yesterday.

The application to strike out the action and also to strike out counter-claims by the defendants, Fr John Kinsella and the Diocese of Ferns, was made yesterday afternoon by Jack Fitzgerald SC, for the three plaintiffs. John Peart SC for the defence, said he was consenting to that and the judge struck out the entire proceedings with no order. The legal action had been running for several weeks and had resumed on Tuesday.

The three plaintiffs said they were sexually abused by Fr Kinsella and that the diocese is liable for the alleged abuse.

The plaintiffs are Patrick Doyle an Eircom technician of The Rookery, Bellefield, Enniscorthy; Mr. Doyle's brother Anthony: and Mr Paul McGannon, of Ballinamnuddagh, The Ballagh, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

Fr Kinsella had denied the allegations, while the diocese contended that the action is statute-barred because of the delay in bringing the proceedings.

A number of persons attached to the diocese had been subpoenaed to give evidence in the case.

[The account in the Irish Independent on the previous day gives slightly more information - and also maybe a clue as to why the three accusers decided not to pursue their allegations any further.]

Irish Independent, Wednesday 13 June 2007, by Dearbhail McDonald

Lawyers acting for the bishop have informed High Court Judge John Quirke that Bishop Comiskey, a key witness in an abuse action taken by three men from Wexford, that he will co-operate in any way he can in a case taken by the men who allege they were abused by a Ferns priest.

Bishop Comiskey, who has made one public appearance in Wexford since he stepped down as Bishop of Ferns, is one of a number of senior Church figures subpoenaed to appear in the case before the High Court.

Yesterday, on day 12 of the first civil diocesan abuse case to go to full trial, lawyers for the former bishop said he had been out of the country as most of his spiritual work had been in America but that he was currently in Ireland.

Counsel for the three men involved in the case, Jack FitzGerald, pointed out that what had been outlined to the court appeared to be "directly contradicting" the position stated in a letter from Bishop Comiskey's solicitors, in which it was noted that he was away and would not be available to give evidence.

Solicitor Noel Smyth, on behalf of the bishop, told the court the letter referred to May/June when Bishop Comiskey did have commitments in the United States.

The difficulty, he said, was that it appeared a witness summons had been served incorrectly.

Bishop Comiskey is expected to give evidence within the next few weeks unless a settlement is reached.

Five years ago, the bishop was forced to resign over claims he had failed to deal adequately with a host of allegations that Fr Sean Fortune and other clerics were abusing children in the diocese.

Three former altar boys from Wexford are suing Fr John Kinsella as well as the Diocese of Ferns for negligence and breach of duty as a result of alleged child sexual abuse.

The actions have been brought by Patrick Doyle, an Eircom technician of The Rookery, Bellefield, Enniscorthy; Mr Doyle's brother, Anthony; and Paul McGannon, of Ballinamuddagh, The Ballagh, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

Fr Kinsella rejects the allegations.

The joint action is the first diocesan abuse case to go to full hearing in the High Court.

All other diocesan cases involving civil compensation claims were settled before they reached a full hearing.