A controversial report in an article in The Irish Catholic that the President of St Patrick’s College Maynooth, Msgr Hugh Connolly may have taken sabbatical leave in response to lurid allegations made about life in the Irish seminary has been withdrawn by the publication and they have apologized.

The article, published on June 16 - and later picked up and reported on by news sources in the United States including this one - had dealt with matters that The Irish Catholic now admits were entirely unconnected to Msgr Connolly’s leave.

The Irish Catholic now accepts that such an insinuation was entirely unjustified and acknowledge Msgr Connolly’s reputation as a senior clergyman and a highly respected academic.

The offending article has since been removed from the internet and The Irish Catholic has offered an unreserved apology to Msgr Connolly for the distress caused to him.

Further, The Irish Catholic also now acknowledges that Msgr Connolly was granted sabbatical leave by the college trustees having applied for it more than a year ago, to enable him to pursue theological studies. This, the publication acknowledges, is a standard sabbatical leave taken in accordance with the usual procedures of St Patrick’s College.

The U.S. outlets that picked up on The Irish Catholic report are now being informed that Msgr Connolly’s leave is entirely unconnected to the allegations made in the original article, and IrishCentral.com has already removed its report.

Msgr Connolly will remain as President of Maynooth until the completion of his statutory term in 2017 and he will continue to exercise many of his duties as president during his sabbatical, The Irish Catholic reports.

At the conclusion of his sabbatical he will return to the position he previously occupied as Professor of Moral Theology in St Patrick’s College.