Black Sheep

Former parish Priest’s Death:

The death took place after a long illness at Árd na Gréine Nursing Home, Enniscrone, of Conor Liam Cawley, retired parish priest of Charlestown. His remains were removed to St James’s Church, Charlestown, and his burial mass took place in church grounds. He is survived by his brothers xxxxxx and xxxxx, his sister xxxxxx, brother-in-law xxxxx and sisters-in-law xxxxxx and xxx, nephews, nieces and friends. The late Conor Cawley was parish priest in Charlestown for a number of years until his illness and retirement. He did much good work in the parish and was hugely involved in the big renovation work of St James’s Church. Sincere sympathies are tendered to the bereaved.

This “man” was a relative of mine. You cannot choose your relatives or ancestors. This bland obituary hides the criminal allegations laid against Fr Cawley long before his death. In Ireland of old, The State and Judiciary were loathe to prosecute the fine, upstanding men who served as Roman Catholic ministers especially if they were “sick”. In the locality, Father Cawley was renowned for his indiscretions, of a sexual nature. Employed as a schoolteacher, alarm bells should have rang out loudly. Nothing was said. As a consequence, Fr Cawley was promoted to Canon, so he continued to enjoy swimming with the nuns and the orphan girls.

Whilst my distant cousin rotted away in Enniscrone, attended to by dedicated nursing staff, one of his victims of childhood abuse could no longer live with the scars of being disbelieved. She committed suicide. Again – nothing was said.

No prosecution was ever forthcoming from the Garda Síochána; the guardians of the proud Irish Republic.

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