(2 August 1939; Dublin
– 27 April 2004; Pisa
) was an Irish Columban
, notable for being falsely accused of and detained in the Philippines
in the 1980s on charges of multiple murder
. He was ordained a priest in December 1963.
Having spent some years learning the Hiligaynon language
on the island of Negros
, Father O'Brien helped translate the first Vatican-approved Hiligaynon version of the bible.
In the 1970s, while posted in the mountain village of Tabugon, Kabankalan City
, Negros Occidental
, he formed a workers' co-operative, which he called a kibbutz
. As Negros was largely a feudal society
, with power concentrated in the hands of a few landowners with the support of the military, this action led to him being branded a communist
by the authorities.
Arrest for multiple murders
On 6 May 1983, he was arrested along with two other priests, Fr. Brian Gore
, an Australian
, Fr. Vicente Dangan, a Filipino
and six lay workers – the so-called "Negros Nine", for the murders of Mayor Pablo Sola of Kabankalan and four companions. The priests where held under house arrest for eight months but "escaped" to prison in Bacolod City
, the provincial capital, where they felt they would be safer.
The case received widespread publicity in Ireland and Australia
, the home of one of the co-accused priests, Fr. Brian Gore
. Charlie Bird
interviewed... Read More