Fr Brian D'Arcy defends his attendance at Quinn protest

Saturday 04 August 2012 22.40
Fr D'Arcy said it would be a bad day when a priest could not offer support to people in trouble
Fr D'Arcy said it would be a bad day when a priest could not offer support to people in trouble

Father Brian D'Arcy has defended his attendance at last Sunday's rally in Cavan in support of Sean Quinn and his family.

Several thousand people turned out at the event in Ballyconnell to show their support for the now bankrupt billionaire and his family.

Speaking in a lengthy interview on RTÉ Radio, Fr D'Arcy said that he lent his support to the family because he was a neighbour and a priest, and because he had been asked to attend.

He said that he has spent the last three to four years helping local people come to terms with what he described as the tragedy that has happened in the area.

He said he would not apologise for his attendance at the rally because if he had not gone, he would have been very remiss in his duty as a priest.

He added that it would be a very bad day when a priest could not offer support to people in trouble.

Fr D'Arcy said that a priest supporting people in trouble does not mean that he is in support of wrong-doing.

When asked about Peter Darragh Quinn, who is continuing to avoid prison by remaining outside of the jurisdiction, Fr D'Arcy said that he had spoken to him once and that he had made it clear that everything would have to be resolved in accordance with justice “in its own good time”.

He said that he had said the same thing to Seán Quinn Snr about the situation relating to the IBRC.

He said he was not an adviser or guru to the Quinn family but that all his life he has tried to be a priest to those in the margins.

He said he was pilloried for walking with victims of abuse through Dublin because he was on the side of the abused.

He said he met Peter Darragh Quinn recently at a church but he could not remember the date.

Fr D'Arcy said that he told him that “some day it [handing himself in to the authorities here] would have to be done” and he left it at that.

He said that Peter Darragh Quinn knew what had to be done but he had no idea if and when he would do it.

However he said that Peter Darragh Quinn's decision to remain outside the jurisdiction, thereby avoiding prison, was not the central theme of last week's rally.

He said it was about local people trying to lend support to a family in need.

Fr D'Arcy said that he was not a hero or a politician. He was not doing this to be popular but there was no point in him being a priest if he only showed compassion to a select few.

He said that under normal circumstances he would go and visit Seán Quinn Jnr in prison, but that at the moment things have got so bad that it would turn into a side-show.

However, he said that he would go and visit him in jail at some stage in the future.