It concerns a prison chaplain and a convicted rapist who is suspected of being responsible for the deaths of a number of young women. On his release from prison a number of months ago, the ex-prisoner was followed by a posse of journalists and camera men. I remember being disgusted by the voyeuristic tone of the coverage at the time. Anyway, the ACP statement is as follows:
The Association of Catholic Priests wishes to affirm its full support for the priestly work of Fr. Ciarán Enright, Chaplain Arbour Hill Prison, in the wake of the unjustified criticisms made against him in the Sunday World, 5th June. During the lengthy imprisonment of Larry Murphy in Arbour Hill, Fr. Ciarán ministered to him in a caring and compassionate manner. It is part of the Church’s role to break down the social barriers which society tries to erect, just as Jesus did. No-one, no matter what crimes they have committed, is excluded from the Church’s caring ministry or from the love of God.Amen to that! I've always had a huge regard for prison chaplains and the fact that Fr Enright's ministry is provoking howls of outrage from the gutter-press should be a reminder to us how the Gospel of reconciliation and the doctrine of the dignity of the human person is subversive of worldly values. The pastoral support and concern of the Church is not something which should or can be earned, but is something that is offered to all. Often those most in need of that support and concern are those who are 'least deserving' in the eyes of the world.
The reprehensible manner in which Larry Murphy was released from Arbour Hill prison at the end of his sentence has already been severely criticised in the most recent Prison Chaplains’ Annual Report. The media coverage fuelled fear and anxiety amongst the general public, could only have added to the distress of his victim and indeed could have put his own life in danger. The only voice of protest came from Fr. Ciarán. Being faithful to the Gospel requires the Church to affirm the dignity of every human being, and to insist that this dignity be respected. This does not always sit easily with the attitudes of many in society.
The media witch hunt which, in the pursuit of profit, demonises some high profile offenders whose crimes are rightly abhorrent to the vast majority of society, only increases the risk of re-offending and consequently makes society less safe.
As prison chaplain, Fr. Ciarán has devoted many years to ministering to those whom society would prefer to shun. As Catholic priests, we stand firmly with him, and we are encouraged by his faithful witness to the values of the Gospel.
Readers might be interested in reading the text of the Sunday World article which prompted the above statement:
THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATEThe Sunday World ignores previous press reports that show Fr Enright encouraging Larry Murphy to engage with the probation services after leaving prison. I'm glad that Fr Enright was at the airport to meet this man and I agree 100% with his criticisms of the media pursuit of Murphy following his release from prison. If you read what Fr Enright actually said, it's far from being the 'bizarre rant' implied by the journalist.
Priest pal of rapist Murphy in bizarre rant in support of sicko
THE priest who is predator Larry Murphy's best pal has claimed that the sick sex beast is the victim of a "shameful witch hunt".
Father Ciaran Enright says the rapist and attempted killer's life is in danger.
And in a stunning outburst he claims Murphy should have been given special treatment when he was released from prison last year.
The Sunday World has learned that the priest - Murphy's only friend in the world - is furious over the way that his sick sidekick Murphy is being pursued by the Press and blames the Irish Prison Service for "appalling and irresponsible" treatment of him.
The head chaplain at Dublin's Arbour Hill prison, where Murphy served a 10-year sentence for a vile rape and attempted murder, is in regular contact with the suspected serial killer and greeted him at Dublin Airport when he returned to the country 11 days ago.
Garda sources say that the holy man has been totally taken in by Murphy and believes that he is a reformed character.
However, senior gardai say that Murphy is an "impulsive psychopath" and could strike again at any time. He is now living in a safe house in rural Ireland and will not leave the country until at least the end of next week.
Fr Enright, in his position as head chaplain, said: "The hysteria that was generated by media coverage heightened the danger to his life and fuelled fear and anxiety among the general public.
"While current legislation may not have allowed for any curtailment of this appalling media coverage, senior management had not only the power, but also the responsibility, to be cognisant of such intense media intrusion when putting a discharge plan in place for a person who had spent over 10 years in the custodial care of the State.
"The failure to do so represents a clear failure of responsibility and duty of care that played into the hands of the media."
The devil's advocate went on to say that making Murphy walk out the front gates of Arbour Hill when he was released caused the pervert "unnecessary distress" and created a "witch hunt" that was "shameful and dangerous".
The 46-year-old psycho refused all offers of counselling and rehabilitation treatment during his decade behind bars.
Despite Murphy giving two fingers to the authorities, Fr Enright has stood up for him, saying the lack of special treatment "endangered his life and caused untold distress for many people".
"No amount of political spin or selective recalling of facts can justify this," Fr Enright said.
The priest has also accused the prison service of leaking "inaccurate and false" information about Murphy that Enright believes was "destructive, disturbing and unacceptable".
The Sunday World can exclusively reveal the background of Larry Murphy's controversial return to Ireland.
The 'Beast of Baltinglass' was enjoying a drink in an open-air bar in a square of Las Ramblas in Barcelona on Thursday, May 19, when his passport fell out of his back pocket. Contrary to reports, there was no prostitute involved in stealing it.
He only realised it was missing when he went back to his hostel and the following day he went to the Irish Consulate in the city and informed them of what happened and asked about how to get a replacement.
Now, if Larry Murphy is guilty of further crimes, then of course he should be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. However, failing that, I suspect that some sectors of the Irish media would be reasonably satisfied by his suicide. If, God forbid, that should come to pass, those journalists would have blood on their hands.