THE Bishop of Motherwell has defended a decision to buy a £200,000 house for his "devoted" housekeeper.
Bishop Joseph Devine was criticised by Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon last week after it emerged the Diocese of Motherwell had bought a property in Ross Crescent, Motherwell, but the bishop claims is a gift from him and won't be paid for out of church funds.
Bishop Devine sent a letter to parishes at the weekend, explaining why the housekeeper is living in Motherwell and not in his rented house in Bothwell.
He said: "For over 26 years I have been blessed with a loyal and devoted housekeeper. I have long considered how best I could repay her.
"I decided to ensure she was rewarded with a home of her own – for the first time in her life."
Bishop Devine admitted the house had been bought by the diocese, but insisted he will pay for it when he receives an inheritance he is expecting.
He said: "I accept that the procedures and arrangements surrounding the purchase of the property could have been better managed, but I hope you can accept everything was done with the best of intentions and in the long run the outcome will be a substantial contribution to diocesan finances."
Full story in August 13 edition of Times & Speaker