Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

Priest abuse claim investigated

A priest has been relieved of public ministry following an allegation of abuse
The priest being investigated has been relieved of public ministry

Police are investigating an allegation of child abuse made against a priest in Ballymena.

The accusation against Father Paul Symonds, a curate in the parish of Kirkinriola, Ballymena, dates back to the 1970s when he worked in England.

Dr Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, said the diocese and Fr Symonds were cooperating fully with the investigation.

Fr Symonds was asked to cease from all public ministry pending its outcome.

Dr Treanor added that the welfare of children was the "paramount concern for the diocese".

"Fr Symonds of course continues to enjoy the natural right of every person to the presumption of innocence," the statement continued

"In accordance with the Diocesan Policy of Safeguarding, all concerned are offered appropriate support."

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