Tax-defaulting priest told to take time off

THE priest who launched a foul-mouthed attack on the Revenue Commissioners after his €433,475 tax settlement has been told to take some time off.

Fr Tadhg O’Donovan, 47, who lives in Whitechurch, Co Cork, has also been instructed to cease any involvement with commercial activity.

Fr O’Donovan was at the centre of controversy last week after it was reported he branded Revenue officials “the biggest shower of bastards on the planet” after his name was published on a list of tax defaulters showing he had made a settlement of €433,475 with the Revenue Commissioners.

Fr O’Donovan also blamed tax officials for several recent suicides.

“They have blood on their hands and I hope they have contentment for Christmas,” he said.

Archbishop Dermot Clifford, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne, issued a personal apology shortly afterwards and instructed Fr O’Donovan to give a full and immediate apology to the Revenue.

Fr O’Donovan then apologised for his remarks, calling his tone “intemperate” and his language “obscene”.

But Archbishop Clifford went a step further and met Fr O’Donovan on Friday during which it was agreed that the curate would take some time away from ministry and cease all commercial activity.

A special statement was read out at all Masses in Fr O’Donovan’s Blarney parish yesterday which stated: “At that meeting it was agreed that Fr O’Donovan will take some time away from his parish ministry for a period of prayer and personal reflection.

“Archbishop Clifford also instructed Fr O’Donovan to cease any involvement with commercial activity of any kind.”

Fr O’Donovan was not available for comment.

The Mallow-born cleric was prosecuted by Revenue in March 2008 over the under-declaration of rent income on his property.

Cork District Court was told he had an interest in 13 properties around Cork dating back to 1989 and was in receipt of substantial rent income from at least 11.

The court was told he failed to fully reveal the rental income for tax purposes for a period between 1998 and 2002.

Fr O’Donovan pleaded guilty in court to a total of 10 charges.

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, has issued an apology after a priest said the clergy were not solely responsible for child abuse.

Father Richard Hurley, the parish priest of the South Parish in the heart of the city, sparked controversy last weekend with his comments.

Some people walked out of Mass after Fr Hurley, who has been priest for 42 years, suggested the clergy is only responsible for 3% of child abuse.

Fr Hurley went on 96fm local radio during the week and insisted he did not mean to offend anyone.

Bishop Buckley held talks with Fr Hurley and issued a statement afterwards which said: “Fr Hurley is upset that his comments were a source of hurt.

Bishop Buckley understands that Fr Hurley will continue to express his apologies for his remarks.


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