Category: Archive

Kidnapped Irish priest is freed

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin confirmed that Fr Michael Sinnott had been freed.
The 79-year-old missionary, a member of the Irish Columban Fathers, was abducted from his gated compound in Pagadian City on the island of Mindanao about 500 miles south of Manila on October 11 but because of his serious heart condition, there were grave concerns for the County Wexford native’s health.
After his release, which followed a total of 32 days in captivity, Fr. Sinnott was immediately given a full medical check-up.
Irish foreign affairs minister Miche_l Martin has since said no ransom had been paid for the release of the priest.
“I am personally delighted and relieved to relay the news that Fr. Michael Sinnott has been freed by his captives and handed over to the Philippine authorities,” Martin said.
“The release of Fr. Michael represents the successful conclusion of a major diplomatic effort by the Irish and Philippine governments. As in previous kidnaps, no ransom was paid by the Irish government. To do so would only have jeopardized the vital work of aid workers and missionaries around the world, it would also place other Irish citizens in danger.”
Sinnott was seized by six gunmen on the southern island of Mindanao. The raiders reportedly duped staff at Columban House, home to 47 missionaries, to gain entry and captured the priest as he was strolling around the gardens.
Fr. Sinnott had spent the past four years running a school for children with hearing difficulties and has lived in the Philippines since 1976.
Shortly after Sinnott’s capture, Philippine troops and navy gunboats tried to encircle the kidnappers to pressure them to release him.
At the start of November, the kidnappers released a video in which Sinnott said

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