Parish priest gets leave of absence while gardai investigate claim against him

A senior member of the clergy serving in County Kilkenny has stood down from his parish pending an investigation into him by the Gardai and the HSE. It is understood that Fr Peter Muldowney, parish priest of Mooncoin in the south of the county asked for a period of leave from his ministry with immediate effect so that “a safeguarding matter” concerning him could be addressed. The Bishop of Ossory, Dr Seamus Freeman acceded to the request.

A senior member of the clergy serving in County Kilkenny has stood down from his parish pending an investigation into him by the Gardai and the HSE. It is understood that Fr Peter Muldowney, parish priest of Mooncoin in the south of the county asked for a period of leave from his ministry with immediate effect so that “a safeguarding matter” concerning him could be addressed. The Bishop of Ossory, Dr Seamus Freeman acceded to the request.

It is understood that a Garda investigation has begun into the matter. It does not relate to his period in the Diocese of Ossory. At Mass in Kilkenny city on Saturday evening, Fr Martin Delaney told the congregation in St Canice’s Church that he had been asked to go to Mooncoin with immediate affect so that the claim of “abuse” against Fr Muldowney could be investigated.

In a statement posted on the diocese website on Saturday evening, Bishop Freeman stated that: “In compliance with our Diocesan Policy on Safeguarding, this matter has been referred to An Garda Siochana, the HSE and to the National Board for Safeguarding Children. The presumption of innocence must prevail.” It added: “There can be no further comment until this matter has been clarified by the Civil Authorities. I ask you for your prayers for all concerned. I have appointed Father Martin Delaney Administrator of the parish of Mooncoin and he will take up duties with immediate effect.

Fr Muldowney if from Kilmanagh in County Kilkenny and was ordained in 1984. He was a late vocation and was formerly a Christian Brother.