Eamonn Casey Plans to Return to Live in Galway after 14 Years

By Lorna Siggins
Irish Times
January 21, 2006

Former bishop of Galway Dr Eamonn Casey (78) plans to return to live in the diocese, almost 14 years after he quit in controversial circumstances.

He is expected to move to the south of the diocese, but will not be able to work while an inquiry continues into child abuse allegations made against him late last year. It is understood that Dr Casey is confident that his name will be cleared on foot of the inquiry being conducted in Limerick.

Bishop of Galway Dr Martin Drennan could not be contacted for comment last night, and Catholic Communications Office spokesman Martin Long said he could neither confirm nor deny the report. But it is understood Dr Casey has been in touch with Church authorities.

He has returned to Galway privately several times and his experiences have led him to believe he will receive a sympathetic response from former parishioners. Another consideration last night was the generally understanding attitude shown in east Galway earlier this week when it was confirmed a 73-year-old priest had fathered a child.

Dr Casey was ordained as a priest in 1951. He worked in Britain for a period where he was active in social housing and Irish emigrant circles, and was appointed bishop of Kerry in 1969. During his tenure in Kerry, he developed a relationship with Annie Murphy, but the affair and birth of a baby son, Peter, was unknown when he was appointed bishop of Galway in 1976.

He continued his active public life, including involvement in Catholic development agency Trócaire, until his sudden departure. Over £70,000 in Galway diocesan funds which had been taken for maintenance was repaid after his departure by close friends of the bishop.

Dr Casey spent some time in Ecuador, central America, and worked latterly in the English parish of Arundel and Brighton. He stepped aside from his ministry following abuse allegations. It later emerged that the allegation was made by a woman now living in Britain who had made similar unproven allegations in the past.

In September 2004, Fine Gael deputy mayor of Galway Pádraig Conneely said the former bishop should be invited back for a jubilee Mass to mark the 26th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Ballybrit racecourse.


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