A legal challenge has been launched after the PSNI police said it would neither confirm nor deny if alleged paedophile priest Malachy Finegan was an informer for the force.
Finegan has been accused of sexual abuse across County Down, including at St Colman’s College in Newry where he taught from 1967. He also served as president of the school from 1976 to 1987.
Many of those who attended St Colman’s College during Finegan’s time there were from republican families across south Down and south Armagh. It is strongly suspected that Finegan was one of a number of churchmen covertly working for the occupying forces.
In 2018 former Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey told of his concerns that Finegan was an informer for the police (then the RUC).
It has now emerged that one of Finegan’s victims, who does not want to be named, is to launch a legal challenge after the PSNI refused to answer when asked if Finegan was a state agent or informer.
Lawyer Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said Finegan was never prosecuted for his multiple crimes committed on scores of young children across four decades. He said there has been a long-standing suspicion about Finegan.
“A refusal by PSNI to deny any suggestion that Finegan supplied information to the security forces only served to fuel suspicions that he might have been some sort of low-level informant,” he said.
“The latest decision invoking NCND (“neither confirm nor deny”) is extraordinary.
“A simple denial is all that we have asked for. He is dead for over 20 years now and has no immediate family to whom a right to life obligation might exist.”
Mr Winters added that “we have brought this judicial review challenge to find out if Finnegan had some form of protected status”.