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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Ex-priest jailed for child porn
Paul McDaid
McDaid: Two year sentence
A former priest has been jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to having child pornography images.

Paul McDaid, 38, of College Park in Letterkenny, County Donegal, was arrested last year during a nationwide crackdown on internet porn by Irish police.

The judge said at Letterkenny Circuit Court on Wednesday that he had taken McDaid's remorse and his cooperation with Gardai into consideration.

The court heard on Tuesday that McDaid had served as secretary to the former Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Seamus Hegarty.

Gardai had found 3,474 pornographic images on a laptop computer, CD, floppy discs and zip discs during a search of his home, including pictures of teenagers and children as young as three engaged in sexual activities.

The raids, part of Operation Amethyst, came after Gardai were given the names of people who had bought pornographic images of children from a Texas-based website.

McDaid left the priesthood in 1996 to take up a job as a youth worker with the North Western Health Board.

Judge Matthew Derry was told how McDaid superimposed a picture of a girl involved in a youth council he helped set up on to the body of a naked 14-year-old.

His legal representative stressed there was no evidence to support any allegation that he ever engaged in sexual contact with children.

A clinical psychologist told the court McDaid has been participating in an intensive treatment programme and was genuinely remorseful.

McDaid was sentenced for two years with six months suspended.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC NI's Keiron Tourish reports
"The judge said the weakest members of society had to be protected"



SEE ALSO:
Child porn charges admitted
16 Jan 03  |  Europe



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