Story by Sean McMahon

The Anglocelt. Wednesday, 6th March, 2019.

Part of the former Norbertine Abbey which is soon to be demolished. The Direction for Our Times team outside (from left): Jane Gomulka, Fr Darragh Connolly, Kathryn Anne Clarke and Emma Burke.

The building formerly known as the Holy Trinity Abbey, at Kilnacrott near Ballyjamesduff – once home to the Norbertine Fathers and notorious paedophile Brendan Smyth – is to be demolished, The Anglo-Celtcan reveal.

In its place, it’s hoped to construct a new €4M ‘Faith Formation Centre’ – the headquarters of the lay Catholic movement ‘Direction for Our Times’, which has owned the property since 2012.

The graveyard on site – where beast Smyth is buried under concrete – will not be touched as part of the redevelopment project.

The presence of the grave of Brendan Smyth “does not come into the equation at all”, according to Fr Darragh Connolly, chaplain to Direction for Our Times.

“The cemetery, as it is, will be remaining as it is. It will not be disturbed or changed. There will be nothing done with it at all,” he clarified.

“This is the home of the Apostolate of the Returning King – we have owned the place since 2012 and we moved in here last summer to make it our headquarters. The plan is to replace the existing buildings with a new building that suits the work we are doing in the area of faith formation and human development,” explained Fr Connolly.

“The new centre will be specifically for the purposes of our work in giving faith formation courses,” he added.
The organisation is getting ready to submit plans to Cavan County Council for approval for the project.

It’s envisaged it will feature four classrooms, a larger general purpose area, common area, a chapel, offices with multimedia functionality and a modern kitchen and a modern sound system.

“The new centre will be designed to serve the needs of the modern church in the Kilmore Diocese and further afield,” said Fr Connolly.

The Abbey and part of the lands were purchased by Direction for Our Times for €610,000 seven years ago.

Asked how the new centre is being funded, Fr Connolly replied: “God has loads of money. He just keeps it in everyone else’s bank accounts. It will be a matter of fundraising for that. When we need something, it is because the Lord wants it and he pays for it.”