Convicted paedophile priest dies in Wexford

A convicted paedophile priest named in the Ferns report has died.

Fr Donal Collins, who suffered from a long-term illness, was found at his home in County Wexford earlier this evening.

Fr Collins, who was in his early 70's, suffered from a cardiac and muscular wasting condition.

In March of 1999 he was released from prison after serving just 12 months of a four-year sentence due to his health problems.

He had pleaded guilty to charges of indecent asault and gross indecency against three young boy

in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Collins was one of 21 priests identified in the Ferns Report in 2005 which uncovered more than 100 allegations of clerical child abuse in the diocese.

Fr Collins was a science teacher at St. Peter's College in Wexford town in the mid 1960's, where he began abusing young boys almost immediately.

He was removed to England for two years for penance, but was brought back to his old post and appointed swimming coach in 1974.

He was later promoted to principal of the college by the then Bishop of Ferns Brendan Comiskey.

In a statement, the Diocese has said it is mindful of the family of Fr Collins at this time.

It said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by his actions in the past."

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