Parish welcomes back falsely accused priest

A ‘sense of joy’ for Fr Boland

Parishioners in Cappagh, Co. Tyrone came out in large numbers to the vigil Mass in St Mary’s, Killyclogher on Saturday night to give their exonerated parish priest an emotional welcome back to ministry, following a “long and painful” battle to restore his reputation.

Fr Eugene Boland had stepped down from public ministry in 2010 after he was accused of indecently assaulting a teenage girl. Fr Boland was found not guilty last June following an eight day trial, but had to await the results of a canonical investigation before returning to his former post.

“It is with a sense of great joy and anticipation that I return to public ministry in my parish of Cappagh with my good name and standing in the Church fully restored,” Fr Boland said in a statement to The Irish Catholic.


“The journey over the past three years and seven months, which has involved a civil and Church process, both of which have completely and unreservedly exonerated me, has been a long and painful one,” he said.

“Throughout this journey I have been sustained and encouraged by the countless prayers and support of my family, colleagues, parishioners past and present, and many friends.  In all of this I only had one goal in mind, namely, to return as soon as possible to my parish of Cappagh and resume the priestly ministry.”

Fr Boland thanked Archbishop Eamon Martin for his “support and diligence”, the Diocesan Chancellor, Fr Paul McCafferty and Diocesan
Administrator, Fr Francis Bradley who “worked tirelessly to bring this matter to a successful conclusion”.

Fr Bradley said he was glad the civil and canonical processes in respect of Fr Boland, which had been difficult for all involved, had drawn to a close and he “warmly welcomed Fr Eugene’s return to Cappagh”.