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Backing for priest who helped rapist Murphy

A DUBLIN priest was right to provide help to serial killer suspect Larry Murphy, according to his fellow clerics.

Fr Ciaran Enright has continued to provide pastoral care for Murphy since the notorious sex attacker was freed from Arbour Hill Prison last year.

The priest even collected him from Dublin Airport recently when he returned from Spain.

Murphy was convicted in 2000 of repeatedly raping a woman in the Wicklow Mountains and is also a suspect in the disappearance of several young women in the 1990s.

High-profile priest Fr Peter McVerry today said his colleague's "ministry is not confined to the four walls of Arbour Hill prison".

In an opinion piece in the Herald, Fr McVerry added: "Fr Enright's ongoing pastoral support and care for Larry Murphy on release, at a time when Larry Murphy was isolated and abandoned by everyone else, is a testament to his fidelity to the Gospel and to Jesus Christ to whom he has committed his life, without counting the cost."

His remarks echo those of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP). It stated "no one, no matter what crimes they have committed, is excluded from the Church's caring ministry".

Fr McVerry pointed to the example of Jesus' own life in which he "affirmed the dignity of those who were most marginalised in his own society".

He said Fr Enright's ministry is primarily to the marginalised.

"He has reached out to them and offered them the support and care which is his duty as a Christian and priest," he added.

"It is part of the Church's role and responsibility to dismantle the barriers which society erects, and to challenge the attitudes which wish to see offenders marginalised for the rest of their lives."

Fr McVerry insisted Fr Enright's "continuing pastoral care" is far more likely to help prevent more crimes "than publicly demonisation".

The ACP said during Murphy's imprisonment, Fr Enright ministered to him.

"Being faithful to the Gospel requires the Church to affirm the dignity of every human being. This does not always sit easily with the attitudes of many in society."

Gardai have been on high alert since Murphy (46) returned to Ireland. He reportedly stayed in a Dublin B&B after flying in from Spain to obtain a replacement passport.

The rapist had been roaming around Europe for eight months but Spanish police only realised the extent of his crimes after he went to a police station to report the theft of his passport.

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