Complaint of historical nature made against former Forkhill curate

October 15, 2018

A priest who ministered in Forkhill in the 1980s has stepped aside after a complaint of an historical nature was made against him.

Fr Gerard McAleer, incumbent parish priest of St. Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore, Co. Tyrone, served as curate in Forkhill following his ordination in 1981.  He previously held the position of principal of St. Brigid’s High School, Armagh and St. Patrick’s Boys’ Academy in Dungannon.

Fr McAleer is well-known in GAA circles, having been part of the Tyrone county senior team management and was assistant manager when the county won its first All-Ireland senior football title in 2003.

No details of the allegation have been made public but it is understood to relate to a period of time prior to his ordination.

In a statement the Archdiocese of Armagh said: “In line with the safeguarding policy and the standards and guidance of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, a parish priest of the archdiocese of Armagh has voluntarily stood aside from his position because of concerns brought to the diocese and reported to the gardai.

“The information received is historic and relates to a time prior to his time in ministry in the archdiocese, and indeed prior to his ordination as a priest.  The relevant statutory authorities in Northern Ireland have been informed.

“The Archbishop of Armagh has asked for prayers for all concerned while stressing that during the period of the investigation the priest, who has voluntarily stepped aside from all his pastoral duties, continues to be entitled to the natural right of every person to the presumption of innocence pending the completion of all relevant State and Church processes.”