Sexual abuse in Carmelite College Moate: ‘We knew something wasn’t right’


Former pupils allege regular sexual abuse by priest and decorated GAA coach Fr Michael Cremin

Fr Michael Cremin was well regarded in the town of Moate and a ‘celebrity’ in the school. Photograph: Alan Betson

As a football coach, Fr Michael Cremin brought glory to the small Co Westmeath town of Moate, guiding the Carmelite College school team to three All-Ireland GAA titles in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Originally from Co Cork, the priest taught maths in the boys boarding school and coached the football team, as well as later becoming principal.

Now amid ongoing revelations of past abuse in schools, multiple former Moate students who spoke to The Irish Times allege suffering or witnessing sexual abuse by Fr Cremin, who died in 2019.

One Carmelite College boarding student in the late 1970s alleged he was sexually abused by Fr Cremin in the priest’s room when he was about 14 years old.

In other alleged incidents the man claimed he was sexually assaulted during classes, where the priest would sit beside students and grope them. “Everybody else put the head down so they’d avoid the attention. I still haven’t forgotten it,” he said.

“I didn’t wash for a while as a form of defence. I made myself sick every Monday and Friday to avoid going to his class,” the man said. “I told my parents at the time. They wouldn’t believe me,” he said.

Fr Cremin led the Carmelite team to three All-Ireland school football titles in 1976, 1980 and 1981, as well as six Leinster titles during the same period.

The Carmelite order, who also run Terenure College in Dublin, said 41 allegations of child sexual abuse had been reported against 12 priests who had worked in its schools.


It seems like abuse, abuse, abuse, abuse everywhere…..

……in parishes, in presbyteries, in sacristies, in convents, in classrooms, in shower rooms, on football pitches, in chapels…..

And it seems never ending – day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

The Carnelites, the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Holy Ghosts, the Cistercians, the Christian Brothers….

The Sisters of Mercy, Charity, Holy Faith, Nazareth, Presentation……

Legionaries, Opus Dei…..