Casey Plans His Return to Galway

By Siobhan Maguire and Mark Tighe
The Sunday Times [Ireland]
January 22, 2006,,2091-2004026,00.html

THE Bishop of Galway, Martin Drennan, last night confirmed that Eamon Casey, the former bishop who fathered a child with an American divorcee, will return "within weeks" to live in the county.

Casey, who left Ireland 14 years ago, has decided to move back to live in Beagh, a quiet parish in south Galway, close to its boundary with Clare.

The 78-year-old has told Drennan he is hoping to find "privacy and peace" on his return. "He will be adjusting to a very new Ireland from the one he left. We have taken soundings in the parish and people have been very positive and very forgiving," Drennan said.

"He has decided against living around Galway city. He is very aware to live in and around the city would attract too much attention. He is very happy with the location and he will have better access to his own relatives."

The bishop said after vigil mass in Clarinbridge last night that until an allegation of sexual abuse against Casey is fully investigated there will be no public ministry for him. Structures have been put in place, Dr Drennan said, to have him monitored which is standard practice when allegations have been made. Drennan did not rule out his return to public ministry if the allegations against Casey were proven false.

Allegations of sexual abuse were made against Casey last year and are believed to relate to something that happened many years earlier. Casey has stated there is no foundation to the allegations made by a woman he knew when she was a child.

After the allegation surfaced in December, Casey stood aside from his ministry in a rural parish in the diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Casey fled Ireland in 1992 after it was revealed that he had an affair with Annie Murphy with whom he had fathered a son, Peter. It also emerged that he had taken about €100,000 from church funds.

The bishop has returned to Galway several times and believes he will receive a sympathetic response from former parishioners.


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