The Irish priest who was held captive in the Philippines for 31 days has arrived home to spend Christmas in his native Wexford.

Father Michael Sinnott, who was freed three weeks ago, intends to go back to the missions in the New year.

There were emotional scenes when he was met on arrival at Dublin airport this afternoon by his family. He was also greeted by fellow priests from the Columban Order and staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Looking remarkably better that he did on his release on 11 November, Fr Sinnott said he was amazed by the publicity his kidnap generated both in the Philippines and here in Ireland. He thanked everyone for their prayers and good wishes.

Fr Sinnott said he never felt in any danger from his captives and they had told him they'd never kill a priest. His only fear was that he might be hurt if the military had tried to release him by force.

He said he has a return ticket to the Philippines for mid January, when he hopes to resume the work he has been undertaking for 50 years.

Fr Sinnott said he hopes there are not too many parties planned for him during his holiday.

Asked about the controversy over the handling of clerical child abuse here, Fr Sinnott said it is a very difficult time for good priests who are doing their work day by day.

Watch full interview