Fr Ben deeply saddened by false evil allegations

By Aimee Walsh

A LOCAL Priest said he was “deeply saddened” by false “evil” allegations that were circulated on social media about him over the Easter weekend.

Fr Ben Moran of St Aengus’ Church in Tymon North, Tallaght, found himself at the centre of a rumour which was spread on social media falsely accusing him of holding a gathering to which the Gardai were called.

St Aengus parish confirmation 1

Fr Ben Moran

Fr Moran spoke to The Echo about the allegations against him.

“It was an anonymous tweet, one item on Snapchat that was copied onto WhatsApp and circulated. How I heard about it was through people that were absolutely outraged about the parish, and it undermined all the goodness we were doing during Holy week.

“The thing about it was that it was a totally fabricated story about a gathering and Guards being called and that.

“Part of the tweet was that the Guards had been called to this event, which they hadn’t, so it was totally fake. It was an example of something that was 100 per cent fake and was turned into a story.”

When asked why he thinks he was the target of the false allegations, Fr Moran said he really does not know, but felt a “sense of evil” from it.

“I don’t know why, maybe it’s idle and someone is trying to fill in the bit of time or have a bit of craic or a joke. To me there was a huge amount of goodness in Holy week and then suddenly this happened.

“A lot of people can be hurt by anonymous messages being put up, and I feel for those who have experienced mental health issues or bullying, and I got a sense of what it must be like to have an anonymous message put up.

“I was kind of saddened by it really, as I say, we were on something of a high with the Easter Celebration on Saturday and Sunday but there is a kind of sadness about it for me, making a bit of a skit about it I suppose. It was meant as a bit of a joke initially I would say.”

Fr Moran said that the false allegations “undermined” all the goodness the parish had been doing during Holy week.

“We are a very close-knit community we are one of the parish’s that the Dominicans took over in 1972 and we have a link with the Priory and a link with St Dominic’s and the priests that are here would be well known.

“As well, people felt hurt that their priest was being targeted. I felt for them as well, they felt let down.

“I am a believer in the power of social media, it has done great work especially with parent’s home-schooling and the goodness there, but it can also be used badly.”

Fr Moran said the take home message from these false allegations is for people to be careful about what messages they are passing around online, and people should “step back and think about it”.

Gardai are investigating to find out the source of the rumour.

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