A FORMER catholic priest who was accused of abusing a child in an Irvine school has been arrested in connection with a string of historic child sex abuse allegations. 

Father Paul Moore, a former chaplain at St Mark’s Primary School, is now facing possible charges of “lewd and libidinous behaviour” towards children, according to police.

The 80-year-old was at the centre of allegations involving children made by a fellow Ayrshire clergyman Patrick Lawson, who was forcibly removed from his post by the church in 2013.

Father Lawson made the claim at an employment tribunal under whistleblowing legislation. 

However, tribunal records show he has now dropped his claims for both unfair dismissal and being unfairly treated for making a public interest disclosure.

Police have since confirmed Father Moore’s arrest on December 8 last year and said a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.

A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “The Procurator Fiscal at Kilmarnock received a report concerning an 80-year-old man in connection with alleged incidents said to have occurred between January 1975 and March 1996.

“The report remains under consideration.”

Father Lawson has been outspoken about the allegations against Father Moore for almost 20 years and has claimed the church failed to deal with them appropriately.

In 2013, while recovering from cancer, he was issued with a decree of removal by Bishop John Cunningham, forcing him to leave his post and parish house within days. 

The church cited his ill-health as the reason for his removal.

Father Lawson, who was parish priest of St Sophia’s in Galston and St Paul’s in Hurlford, appealed against the decision at the church’s highest court, the Signatura in Rome, but it upheld the original decision.

The priest then launched the employment tribunal against the Diocese of Galloway.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Galloway said: “We welcome the decision by Father Lawson to withdraw his employment tribunal claim against the Diocese in its entirety.”

The arrest follows the launch of an inquiry into historical abuse of children in care by the Scottish Government.

Education Secretary Angela Constance appointed Susan O’Brian QC to head the "far reaching" probe in May last year.

The church declined to comment on Father Moore’s arrest.