The Archdiocese of Armagh has said it played no role in the decision to allow wife-killer Dermot McArdle to remarry, in the church adjacent to the graveyard where his first wife lies buried in her wedding dress.
In a letter to a broker working on behalf of the family of slain Kelly Ann Corcoran, Catholic Church communications director Martin Long said weddings in the diocese are arranged between the local pastor and the couples who they marry.
A copy of an emailed response to the family’s intermediary, seen by the Sunday World, read: “Thank you for your inquiry sent to me by the Archdiocese of Armagh.
“The many individual marriages that take place each year in the 61 parishes of the Archdiocese of Armagh are organized at the local parish level.
“While the Archdiocese does not comment on individual marriages, please note that for each marriage, the required civil, canonical, and pastoral preparation is performed by the couple themselves in cooperation with the solemnizing priest and the civil registration service.
“I trust the above will be helpful to you.
With kind regards, Martin Long, Catholic Office of Communications.
Previously, the Corcoran family go-between had written to both Armagh Archbishop Eamon Martin and Pope Francis asking for an explanation as to why convicted murderer McArdle was allowed to remarry just 40 yards from where Kelly Ann lies buried.
The family also raised a number of questions with the Church seeking clarification on whether canon law was followed in allowing the wedding at St Fursey Church, co Louth.
The source described the decision to allow McArdle to remarry on the same hallowed ground where Kelly-Ann rests as “very concerning.”
The family are understood to also be seeking answers as to why the wedding took place at St Fursey when the parish of Haggardstown and Blackrock also has a second church, St Oliver Plunkett’s Church, which was not in use at the time of the wedding. of McArdle.
They have also sought clarification on whether canon law dictates that a divorced person cannot remarry in a church, while a man convicted of killing his first wife can.
The Sunday World tried to put some of these questions to the parish priest, Fr Padraig Keenan, who celebrated McArdle’s wedding to long-term partner Claire Dollard at St Fursey’s Church in Haggardstown on Friday two weeks ago.
We caught up with Father Keenan as he was leaving St. Oliver Plunkett Church after a separate wedding a week later.
After our reporter identified himself, he said to Father Keenan, “I wanted to ask you a few questions about the wedding you had with Dermot McArdle at St Fursey’s last Friday.”
Father Keenan replied, “No!”
The priest then continued walking to his car.
Asked if he was aware that letters about the wedding had been sent to Archbishop Martin and Pope Francis on behalf of the Corcoran family, Father Keenan did not respond.
McArdle, 53, served just two years in a Spanish prison after being convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Kelly-Ann in Marbella on the first night of a family vacation together.
He was found guilty of her involuntary manslaughter in 2008 after a Spanish court determined that her fall from the couple’s fourth-floor balcony at the five-star Meliá Don Pepe hotel had occurred as the result of a fight.
The nine-person jury voted by a majority of seven to two to convict Dundalk’s father, then 39, of causing the death of his wife Kelly-Ann Corcoran during a heated argument on the night of February 11, 2000. the day the family arrived on vacation on the Costa del Sol.
The jury found that as the argument escalated, McArdle pushed his wife onto the balcony of their hotel room, causing her to fall onto the rails.
The jury was satisfied that the reconstruction of the fall by the police and forensic experts had shown that she could not have fallen over the railing on her own, as the defense claimed.
Kelly-Ann died of her injuries two days later.
Roy Haines, an Englishman staying in the next room, told the court that before Kelly-Ann’s fatal fall he heard a commotion that sounded like an argument.
He said he went out on his balcony and saw a man holding a woman “above her head.”
“I told him to put her down,” he told the court.
“I went in and closed the door.”
Shortly after, he said, he heard cries for help.
“There was nothing we could do. She was depressed.”
Kelly-Ann’s brother-in-law, Peter Moran, stated that Mark, then three years old, told her on his return to Dundalk, “Dad cheeky, dad pushed mum.”
McArdle had claimed that Kelly-Ann saw her son on the balcony and went to grab him before tripping and falling over the railing.
She said he grabbed her arm but was unable to hold her up, saying in her testimony: “We are Catholic and we would not lie.”
But the jury ruled against him.