Irish priest freed in Philippines after 31 days

Irish priest freed in Ph

A 79-year-old Irish Catholic priest abducted in the Philippines a month ago has been freed unharmed and neither country paid any of the kidnappers' $2 million ransom demand, Irish and Filipino authorities have announced. Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said late Wednesday the Rev. Michael Sinnott "displayed great forbearance ... in spite of his age and difficult health." "He is clearly a man of great resilience, strength and courage and we wish him well as he seeks to recover from such a trying ordeal," said Irish President Mary McAleese, who called Sinnott's freedom the answer to the shared prayers of millions in both countries. And Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the government would help the priest enjoy "a speedy reunion with his family and friends." Six armed men abducted Sinnott Oct. 11 from his missionary home on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, escaped by speedboat, and took him into the jungle.