A priest has been sentenced to three years in prison for sexually abusing an altar boy in his Wicklow parish.

Fr Thomas Naughton, 78, pleaded guilty to indecent assault while he was a priest in Blessington.

At Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Michael O'Shea sentenced him to three years in prison, with the last 12 months suspended.

In 1998, he served two and a half years in prison, when he was convicted of indecently assaulting three alter boys, in parishes in Donnycarney and Ringsend.

He was released in 2000 and until today was living with St Patrick's Missionary Order, at Kiltegan, in Co Wicklow.

The Murphy report, into child sex abuse in the Dublin Diocese, critised Limerick Bishop Donal Murray for his failure to deal with allegations about Fr Naughton.

It said the failure was 'inexcusable'.

More than 20 named people made complaints of child sexual abuse against Fr Naughton, and there are suspicions in respect of many more, according to the commission.

The judge described the abuse as systematic, shocking and horrific.

He said the impact on the now adult victim was catastrophic and the abuse continues to have a catastrophic effect on his life.