Submitted by a blog reader
Vincent Mercer was a member of the Irish Dominican province and a priest, He was laicised in 2017. He is currently living in an apartment in Dublin, payed for by the Irish Dominican province. He has a Wikipedia page dedicated to him, which can be viewed to see a list of his convictions and jail terms. Since the year 2000 the law of the church has said that if a priest is convicted of child sex abuse they are to be defrocked. It is now 2017.
The abusive career of Vincent Mercer began when he was a student for the priesthood in Tallaght back in the late 60’s early 70’s. It was brought to the attention of his then provincial Flannan Hynes OP (still alive thought now living in South America). He was not expelled from the order, and this allowed him to continue he abusive career until the 1990s, using his position as a priest/Dominican to gain trust and a cover of respectability.
Flannan Hynes OP (still alive thought now living in South America). He was not expelled from the order, and this allowed him to continue he abusive career until the 1990s, using his position as a priest/Dominican to gain trust and a cover of respectability.
He was made principal of Newbridge College, a secondary school (at the time an all-boys boarding school) run by the Dominican order. It was a curious appointment, as Mercer had no teaching qualification or indeed a civil third level qualification what so ever! Here he begun to abuse boys also. He used creep into the dormitories at night time and sexually assault the students.
He was removed on ‘health grounds’ one night (and I do mean literally in the middle of the night) and moved to Waterford, where he abused, to cork where he abused, back to Dublin where he abused.
Each time he was moved a different reason was given. Incidentally while Mercer was in Newbridge college one of his colleges was Brian Mckevitt op, editor of the Alive newspaper. It is alleged that one boy told McKevitt that Mercer was abusing him. McKevitt reacted by dragging the child in front of Mercer and making him repeat what he had said about Mercer! McKevitt was challenged on this on the radio programme ‘Liveline’. He denied that he was in the College at the same time as Mercer, however the yearly college annuals tell otherwise.
Mercer was eventually removed from ministry in the early 2000’s as victims began to sue the Irish Dominican province. However he could have been stopped a lot earlier, as he was reported while he was a student, by a fellow student who is now a prior of a Dublin community.
Mercer was allowed to continue his vile behaviour because superiors claimed they did not know that child abuse was wrong! And they did not know what to do about it! So they moved him until the next complaint was made, then shipped him off again to another unsuspecting congregation!
Amazingly when he was removed from Newbridge, to Waterford, the then provincial actually said he was suitable for youth ministry! I know this to be true because the man who was prior there at the time told me.
Two former provincials, who were in office when Mercer was abusing, and who had it reported to them, are still alive, living in Ireland and in ministry.
Fr. Tom Jordan OP editor of ‘Spirituality’ magazine. Provincial 1984-1992. Currently residing at the Black Abbey Dominican church, Kilkenny City.
Tom make 2 claims regarding knowledge of Mercers abuse.
- He knew nothing.
- When he does admit that he knew something, he claims did not know that child abuse/rape was wrong! (I am not making this up!) Now this makes him either amoral, unable to distinguish right from wrong, therefore not suitable to be a priest, or a liar, again not suitable to be a priest.
- In 2003 the Province held a seminar on the subject of Child sex abuse, in the Dominican retreat centre in Mayfiled, Cork city. It was a seminar, with professional speaks speaking on this terrible issue. The then provincial was Gearoid Manning, who left the order in 2004. During the seminar Both Flannan Hynes (who was home at the time) and Tom Jordan stood up and declared they did not know that the rape and sexual assault of children was wrong, or indeed was a crime. To be fair member of the province did try to tackle them, but were stopped by the chair of the meeting. To this day that is the line peddled by Tom Jordan. I remember sitting with him at lunch one day and raising this, specifically why did he not report Mercer to the Garda, and again I got the usual ‘I did not know that child abuse was a crime’ answer. (Well at least he said ‘crime’ instead of ‘wrong’ perhaps it was the beginning of a moral enlightment!) I questioned if he knew rape/sexual assault was wrong, he answered that he did. So I asked him why he had had this lack of clarity when an adult male priest raped a child. I remember his look of indignation and indeed sheer contempt at my questioning him. He answered, in a very patronising way, that I wouldn’t understand, it was ‘complicated’ for them. I was stopped by another priest for asking more questions, and he change the subject! Tom is the kind of cleric who is ‘progressive’ and believes in the ‘empowerment’ of the laity. He also treats with distain anyone who would dare disagree with him, and did not think twice about inflicting a paedophile priest on the unsuspecting laity. He did not know that child abuse was wrong.
- Fr Larry Collins OP. Provincial from 1992-2000. Member of the Dublin marriage tribunal. Currently administrator of the parish of St Dominic, Tallaght, Archdiocese of Dublin. (Ironically the place where Mercers abuse was first reported, but back then it was called Loreto parish) Also on the board of management of Newbridge College, and parish schools.
Larry Collins op, on the left of this picture, with his arm around Jim Dunleavy OP.
By the time Larry was provincial the ‘rumours’ of Mercer were getting harder to ignore. We were now in the era of the Eamon Casey and Brendan Smith scandals.
Rumours regarding Mercer were beginning to circulate around the province. In the mid 1990’s the Dominican priest in charge of the Dominican summer camp Knockadoon, in rural Cork, had heard of these rumours. (Incidentally Mercer had abused children in Knockadoon also, in the 1960’s). As Mercer was showing up to the summer camp, the priest in charge contacted Collins to ask if the rumours were true and indeed if it was safe for Mercer to be near the kids at the camp. The priest told me of the response he got from Fr Larry Collins OP, then provincial of the Irish Dominican province.
Collins accused the priest, who made the inquiry, of trying to malign Fr Mercer, of making untrue/unfounded accusations against Mercer and ordered the priest to desist at once from spreading such disgusting and unfound rumours about a wonderful priest! The priest told me he only wishes he had kept that letter. Mercer had many powerful friend who shielded him, Collins was one of them. I know that Collins had sent Mercer to Stroud, a centre for troubled/problematic priests, but removed him when Mercer claimed he was losing his faith! Though it is worth noting that Collins did, eventually, limit Mercers ministry activities, sometime in the late 1990’s.
Like Fr Tom Jordan OP, Fr Larry Collins OP did not feel the need to report Mercer to the civil authorities. We were now in the post Brendan Smith period. Collins became provincial in 1992, Mercers last know abuse was in cork in 1994, for which he has served a sentence. A simple google search will reveal all of this. Two things are worth noting. 1 no report was made by Collins to the civil authorities, 2 Collins seems to have tried to quash members of the province from asking questions about Mercer. At a community social a priest, in my presence, said ‘that Larry perjured himself in the Mercer case’, in claiming that he knew nothing of Mercers abusive behaviour.
Larry Collins is on the Board of management of Newbridge College, is a past pupil of the college, and has an almost fanatical love for the place. Yet this did not encourage him to protect children, or indeed remove a dangerous paedophile from a position where he could hurt children. If such a case were to arise now would Collins act correctly and report it, or would he still have ‘uncertainties’ regarding child protection? Is it appropriate for him to be heading a parish and be on board of managements of schools in the Archdiocese of Dublin?
I would describe both Jordan and Collins as two very judgemental men. For example in the issue of marriage equality both men would have had absolutely no doubts that Marriage equality was ‘wrong and dangerous for society’ and that it is the job of the state, through its laws, to reflect this. Yet when it came to Fr Vincent Mercer OP they ‘did not know that child abuse/sexual assault was wrong’, or that the States laws should be involved. They deny any wrong doing of course. The motto of the Dominican order is ‘Veritas’, the latin for truth. However, it seems that the relationship of some Dominicans with ‘truth’ is loose to say the least.
I am going to make a dangerous conclusion. I cannot prove this, but it would make sense in light of what we now know. I suspect a deal was done with Mercer. If he said that his religious superiors had no knowledge of his abusive activity, then they would look after him, they would not kick him out of the order or strip him of his priesthood.
Though out of ministry, Mercer is still a priest and a member of the Irish Dominican province.
Just to illustrate the depravity and shamelessness of Mercer. Recently, last month, he attended a funeral in Mayfield in Cork city. Mercier position himself at the end of the church so all could see him as they left, and he greeted many people. The parents of the child he abused in cork, for which he was sentenced on 22 February 2013, live there, and he would know that. They were probably at that funeral.
Tom Jordan op is the former Dominican provincial and currently editor of ‘spirituality’ magazine (Dominican Publication’s)
fr Lawrence (Larry) Collins op. Administrator of Dominics parish Tallaght Archdiocese of Dublin. Defender of the Bond Dublin marriage tribunal, former teacher of canon law in st Mary’s Dominican studium Tallaght.