A Donegal priest has quit his parish after what he referred to as “bullying” in the form of verbal and physical abuse from his parishioners.

Father Bill McGeady (74), of Glencolmcille, County Donegal, wrote a letter to his parishioners announcing his decision.

He said, “When I came in September 2010, I was happy to be here. Have been a priest for a while, but I soon found out that a very small number of people wanted to tell me how I should run my parish.

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"When I refused to listen to them, I was verbally and physically abused in the sacristy, church and in the street.

"Letters of complaint were sent to the bishop from those few."

He continued, "Sadly, they did not write to tell him of the abuse they gave me.

"The complaining has continued and sadly it has affected my mental and physical health.

"Apart from what I have written above, I tell you truthfully I have very much enjoyed my time here."

The priest thanked church leaders, clerks, choir and the congregation. He also noted that the attendance at Mass had increased.

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He wrote, “The parish is not all about one priest or person in charge.

"It is about all in the parish doing their bit to serve God and each other.

"I will miss all the good, decent people of Glen, especially the housebound and sick."

He concluded, "Please God, I will return one day."

Parish priest Father Francis McAteer refused to comment last night, according to the Irish Independent.

A close friend said, “No one expected him to stand down.

"He is very popular here and it came as a bit of a shock."

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