A Catholic priest has voluntarily stepped aside from his duties in the Northern Ireland diocese of Dromore while police investigate a historical allegation of abuse against him.

A statement from the diocese says that both it and the priest are co-operating fully with the ongoing PSNI investigation and that they will continue to do so.

In February, Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey resigned because of criticism by victims of the paedophile Fr Malachy Finegan of the bishop’s handling of allegations against him.

The victims said the bishop had added to their suffering by celebrating Mass in public with Finegan when he was confined to private ministry because of his record of abuse, and by saying his funeral Mass.

The diocese’s statement urges anyone who has a concern of a safeguarding nature to contact the PSNI, the social services or the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer who can be contacted at 077 8991 7741 from anywhere in the UK and 0044 77 8991 7441 from the Republic of Ireland.

Dromore encompasses much of south Co Down and portions of counties Armagh and Antrim.