Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce, has intervened in a row between a choir singer and priest in the Leitirmacaward parish.
Choir singer at St Brigid’s Church and director of the Donegal Youth Choir, Sara Laughlin, claimed on social media at the weekend she was attacked “verbally and unbelievably” by parish priest Fr. Shane Gallagher after the choir she directed performed “Voice of an Angel” by Fr. Liam Lawton at an anniversary mass for her grandmother and uncle.
This week the singer met with Bishop Boyce to discuss the matter.
Bishop Boyce assured her the matter will be resolved and apologised saying it was not a diocese decision, she claims.
“He apologised to me and said this was not a Diocesan opinion but the opinion of one person,” she stated.
“He asked me to put my faith in him that this matter would be resolved and I am doing that,” she added.
The teacher added she would not return to that church as long as Fr Gallagher remains there stating “I am still afraid after what happened between us.”
Fr Shane Gallagher said he was “hurt and appalled” at what he calls “private conversation” between himself and teacher Sara Laughlin was brought into the public domain. He said although it was broadcast on local radio that the matter has been resolved, he insists that he played no part in any resolution but hopes to “draw a line under the matter”.
A statement issued on Monday by the Leitir cleric reads: “I was not a party to the resolution of it and did not in any respect contribute to it, nor did I have any advance notice of it. As of 12.05 a.m. today, I remain unaware of any details of the resolution announced. I wish to take this opportunity to refute the allegations made against me.
“I am hurt and appalled that a private conversation with Ms. Sara Laughlin regarding the suitability of a particular song she sang at Communion time, during a Mass I celebrated last Saturday evening for her grandmother and uncle, has been so unfairly distorted and that, in consequence, I have been so vilified and abused in the social media over the past 36 hours. “In the interests of the people whom I serve in Leitirmacaward and Doochary, I hope to be permitted draw a line under the matter and, to this end, I will be making no further comment.”