herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Priest says sorry for ‘idiotic’ Jill Meagher remarks

Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.
Irish woman Jill Meagher who was murdered in Melbourne. Pic Ciara Wilkinson.

A PRIEST who said that Jill Meagher would have been at home in bed the night she was raped and murdered if she’d been “more faith filled” has apologised.

Fr Joseph Olickal’s remarks – made last week as he showed newspaper headlines to a group of primary school children at an end-of-term mass – were branded “disgusting” by Jill’s husband Tom.

Meanwhile Joan Meagher, Jill’s mother-in-law, said his comments were “ridiculous”.

The young Irishwoman was raped and murdered by Adrian Ernest Bayley in Melbourne, Australia in 2012.

Bayley is now serving a life sentence for the crime.

Fr Olickal told the school children that if Ms Meagher had been “more faith-filled”, she “would have been home in bed and not walking down Sydney Road at 3am”.

He has now said that he agrees with Ms Meagher’s family that the comment was “idiotic”.

“I am very remorseful it came out like that, I am very apologetic and I ask for pardon, I apologise sincerely, especially to all the Irish people and especially to all those for whom Jill Meagher has been and is so dear,” he told RTE Radio.

“I have several dreams for young people to live safely, I have only dreams of a better world, a safer place for people, nothing of condemnation for Jill,” he said.

“I take [back the comment] no problem, I am humble.

“When I came to know she was a nice Irish Catholic I felt very sad about the comment,” he added.

“I made a mention of Bayley and I condemned the acts and then I said that particular comment, I’m sure it was very poor on my part to mention it, it was a passing comment,” he said.

“I wasn’t blaming the victim,” Fr Olickal insisted.

hnews@herald.ie

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