Retired priest John Irwin admits stealing church funds in Derry

Londonderry courthouse on dull day
Image caption The judge was asked to defer sentencing to enable Irwin to repay the outstanding amount

A retired priest has pleaded guilty at Londonderry Magistrates Court to stealing almost £1,800 of church funds.

John Irwin, from Garvagh Road in Dungiven, admitted stealing £1,440 of collection money from St. Patrick's Church in Pennyburn, Derry.

The 72-year-old committed the theft between May 2011 and October 2012.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing £300 belonging to the Derry Diocesan Fund. Sentencing was deferred until November, to allow him to repay the stolen money.

A defence solicitor said the accused had already repaid the £300 in relation to the second charge, as well as compensation of £700 to the diocesan authorities.

The lawyer added it was Irwin's intention to repay the £1,440 collection money in full.