In a shocking move a new English Bishop – David Oakley of Northampton, has told his prirsts to charge the NHS for using Church property to administer the Covid cabinet to ordinary people.

In the midst of this current pandemic I find it shocking that a Christian clergyman is thinking about making money out of it.

Its drawing us back to the accusations that bishops did not want churches owed because of the losses to the collection plates.

I fully understand that churches, like everyone, need income.

But it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths when so many are sick and dying.

The NHS is run on our payments and taxes.

It is overwhelmed at present and is struggling and needs the help and support of all of us.

Its not a time for asking the NHS for money.

Its time to give them as much as we can.

These vacine clinics will save the lives of bishops, priests and parishioners.

If the NHS is giving us all FREE vacines why should we charge them for bringing it to our parishes?


Principal Grealish


Dear Mr. Grealish,

I direct your attention to an e-mail below sent on November 11, 2020 at 19.16 addressed to Fr. Malachy Thompson, the current monastic superior of Mount St. Joseph Abbey. At the time of writing, it has not received the courtesy of an acknowledgement and/or an undertaking of a reply. I invite you to read the said e-mail, carefully, because it begets a number of important questions that I now outlined within the present.

Question One.
As the Principle of the College, were you or the Trustees of the Cistercian College and/or the Board of Management aware that allegations of sexual impropriety had been made against the former Abbot and Patron of the Cistercian College, Fr. Richard Purcell?

Question Two.
Were you aware that Fr. Richard Purcell had consensual anal sex with an ex-priest of the Diocese of Killaloe in the monastery guesthouse? You would accept the proposition that the stated action of Richard Purcell in the monastery guesthouse with somebody who was contemplating joining the monastery was an abuse of abbatial authority?

Question Three.
Were you aware that the event referred to within question two is “open secret” among priests within the Diocese of Killaloe, and the matter was known to the previous and current Roman Catholic bishops of Killaloe?

Question Four.
Were you aware the allegation pertaining to Richard Purcell is known to, and has been ignored for some time by the current Abbot General of the Cistercians, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald?

Question Five.
Would you consider the inexplicable silence and on-going inaction of Dom Eamon Fitzgerald in this matter to be wholly unacceptable and not conducive to the positive reputation of the Cistercian College?

Question Six.
Would you further accept that his silence in light of educational best practice today is indicative of a cover-up?

The current Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, Dom Brendan Coffey, OSB under the auspices of the Bishop of Meath, Thomas Deenihan attempted to procure a statement from a monk and priest of Silverstream Priory that was exculpatory of the behaviour of Fr. Richard Purcell. There are e-mails and other evidence to affirm the statement. Moreover, the whistle-blower is prepared to make a solemn statement under oath and be subject to cross-examination on this fact.

I have suggested that the behaviour of Abbot Brendan Coffey is so compromised; he has no choice but to resign as the Abbot of Glenstal due to his oversight of the school. His behaviour is not indicative to a culture of safeguarding.

In light of the above, I would respectfully suggest that you put the following questions to Fr. Malachy Thompson. It has been alleged by people posting on the blog run by the independent bishop, Pat Buckley, that the allegations concerning Purcell were known Fr. Aelred Magree; hence, both of them might-be able to provide guidance on the following five (5) questions.

Question Seven.
For how long have they been aware about the allegations pertaining to Fr. Richard Purcell?

Question Eight.
If they were aware of the allegations, why did both monks remain silent about same?

Question Nine.
Was the then Br. Malachy (before his ordination to the priesthood) aware of the allegations when he was appointed superior of the Abbey?

Question Ten.
Was Br. Malachy aware of the allegations concerning Purcell, when he was appointed to a management/trustees/supervisory role in the Cistercian College? If so, why did he remain silent?

Question Eleven.
Are the allegations about Fr. Purcell’s behaviour known to any other monks within the monastic community at Mount St. Joseph Abbey? Do any of these monks have involvement in the management of the Cistercian College and/or do they have day-to-day contact with pupils either in the classroom or pastorally?

Question Twelve.
Prior to the receipt of this e-mail, did you hear any rumours/supposition that there were questions around Dom Richard Purcell’s moral behaviour? If these allegations were known to you, did you ever challenge Richard Purcell about his behaviour?

I am mindful that you will find that question offensive, but in light of what is contained within the present; it is an appropriate question. It is also a question that will be asked by an official from the Department of Education and/or an official from the Charities Regulator.

Question Thirteen.
Were the allegations about Purcell’s behaviour in the monastery guesthouse known when the Cistercian College was fundraising in order to remain open?

Question Fourteen.
If so, were they deliberately kept occult in order not to impede fundraising efforts to avert the closure of the Cistercian College? If, this is indeed the case, how does the Cistercian College, now attempt to defend the indefensible?

The behaviour of Richard Purcell was known to the Abbot General of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald — an affidavit can attest to this reality.

Question Fifteen.
Thus, if the allegations are known to Dom Eamon, would you accept that a reasonable outsider would find it implausible to accept that Fr. Malachy Thompson was unaware of the allegations concerning Richard Purcell, and that it would be specious for Fr. Malachy to assert the contrary?

Question Sixteen.
If you accept the reasoning in question fifteen and accept that Fr. Malachy had to be aware of the allegations; it naturally follows, he chose to remain silent about same — do you consider that until this matter is independently investigated, Fr. Malachy Thompson, should step aside as a Trustee of the Cistercian College, and have no involvement in the day-to-day administration of the school until this matter is impartially investigated?

Question Fifteen.
Would you accept until the allegations concerning Fr. Richard Purcell, the former Abbot and Ordinary of Mount St. Joseph Abbey have been publicly denied and/or subjected to an independent canonical investigation — there should be, sadly, no monks from Mount St. Joseph Abbey involved in the College under any circumstances?

It has been further alleged by people posting on the blog run by the independent bishop, Patrick Buckley that the allegations concerning Purcell were known to an ex-employee. However, they have not indicated was this an ex-employee of the Cistercian College or the monastery.

Question Sixteen.
If this is correct, are you in a position to confirm if the employee referred to — is an ex-employee of the college, and is not subject to any non-disclosure agreement?

Question Seventeen.
If the employee is subject to a non-disclosure agreement — can the individual be released from same — in order to speak to investigators from the Department of Education and/or or the Charities Regulator about the allegations pertaining to Purcell and potentially the cover-up of his behaviour within the Cistercian College?

Question Eighteen.
Do you consider in light of these allegations, Fr. Richard Purcell should resign as the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey?

Question Nineteen.
Would you be happy with the contents of this correspondence to be presented to the Charities Regulator?

Question Twenty.
Would you, the Trustees of the Cistercian College, along with the Board of Management, be happy for me to present this e-mail along any reply from you to the Minister for Education, Ms. Norma Foley, next Tuesday?

Question Twenty-One.
Do you consider in light of the present, that these matters need to be presented to the Charities Regulator, and will the Cistercian College (RCN: 20008680) self-report?

Obviously, I am truly sorry to be bringing these matters to your attention, however, the on-going silence of Dom Eamon Fitzgerald and others about these allegations mean these matters have not to be referred to the civil authorities in order to bring what is arcane into the public domain. The matter is particularly serious in light of the fact that the culture of cover-up eloquently articulated by the silence of Dom Eamon Fitzgerald is not conducive to a positive safeguarding environment.

If the Abbot General of the Cistercians is prepared to remain silent about Purcell’s behaviour, and the abbot of another monastery in another congregation is looking for a get out of jail card for Purcell — it leads to the legitimate question — would similar efforts be made to cover-up for a monk who is facing an allegation of misconduct involving a pupil of the Cistercian College? And, that is why this is so important. Of course, this matter would not have occurred in the first place if Richard Purcell had behaved in accordance with his solemn monastic vows. In light of your professional expertise and background that does not need to be elucidated any further in the present.

I would be grateful for a prompt acknowledgement of the present, along with an outline of the steps you will be undertaking to deal with these matters promptly and professionally.


Robert Hourigan.

From: Robert Hourigan
Sent: 11 November 2020 19:16
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>; <>
Subject: Concerning Your Predecessor — Richard Purcell.

Dear Dom Malachy,

You may/may not be aware of certain matters concerning the behaviour of your predecessor, Dom Richard Purcell when he was the Abbot and Ordinary of Mount St. Joseph Abbey involving a former priest of the Diocese of Killaloe in the monastery guesthouse. I would suggest that you familiarise yourself with these allegations with all haste and discuss them as a matter of urgency with the Abbot General, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald. Of course, it is legitimate to enquire — did you have any knowledge of these allegations pertaining to Richard Purcell when you were appointed superior of the Abbey?

This afternoon, the involvement of Abbot Brendan Coffey, OSB of Glenstal Abbey and his inexcusable and inexplicable behaviour — seeking a statement of exculpation for Dom Richard Purcell’s rampant and grossly immoral behaviour — was brought to the attention of Tulsa. In light of my family connections with the Cistercians, I would greatly wish not to bring the Cistercian College into the purview of Tulsa and the Department of Education.

Dom Eamon for the greater good of the Cistercian College and the Abbey should either seek the resignation of Dom Richard as a matter of considerable urgency and/or issue a public denial. The on-going silence of the Abbot General is surprising and unacceptable.

It has been asserted by anonymous parties on the blog run by Pat Buckley that the allegations pertaining to Richard Purcell were known about by Fr. Aelred Magee, OCSO and an ex-employee of the college. I trust if the regulators are involved Fr. Aelred will (if the allegations are true) give a full and frank disclosure to the investigators and the ex-employee will be identified voluntarily by you and/or the Principal of the Cistercian College, and that co-operation will be forthcoming from all parties, i.e., the college and the abbey.

You will appreciate that the on-going cover-ups (note the plural) of Purcell’s behaviour is not indicative and illustrative of the ethos and contiguous practise of safeguarding expected in any school — particularly a school as prestigious as the Cistercian College. In light of the present, do you consider it is necessary for the college to make a disclosure to Tulsa and/or any other regulatory body?

Respectfully, I remain,

Robert Hourigan