I Want to Come Home

By Jon Myles
The Irish Post
January 25, 2006

CONTROVERSIAL ex-bishop Eamonn Casey is set to return to Ireland from Britain 14 years after fleeing the country following revelations he had fathered a son with a middle-aged divorcee.

The 78-year-old cleric is preparing to finally face the people of Galway for the first time after deciding to leave his posting in Sussex and see out his retirement at home.

It will be his first public appearance in Ireland since details of his relationship with Annie Murphy sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church in Ireland.

But he is first waiting to hear from garda´┐Żover an investigation into sexual abuse c l a i m s m a d e against him by a woman last November.

Dr Casey vigorously denied the allegations and is believed to want the matter cleared up before he moves back to Ireland.

The former Bishop has returned anonymously to Ireland on rare occasions during his selfimposed exile but has stayed away from Galway for fear of re-igniting the controversy over his fathering a child.

But senior Church figures have now approved his return to his former diocese.

Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway confirmed he had invited Dr Casey to return to see out his retirement among the people he served from 1978 until 1992.

And Dr Casey also revealed he would be willing to apologise for his past on his return.

He said: "I have apologised before and I will again. I have no problem with it. It is not an issue."

Dr Casey fled Ireland in 1992 after it was revealed he had fathered a son with American divorcee Annie Murphy.

He moved first to South America and then to England and has been serving as a priest at the parish of Staplefield in Sussex.

But his colleague Father Martin Jakubas said Dr Casey had long wanted a return to his homeland.

He said: "He has been talking about retirement for some time.

"We would hope if everything is cleared up we could give him a send-off."

And Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton confirmed Dr Casey had always wanted to return home.

He said: "He talked for a long time of going back to Ireland."

Dr Casey has been a priest for the last 54 years and served for seven years as Bishop of Kerry.

He disappeared from Galway in May 1992 when it emerged that news of his relationship with Ms Murphy was about to be made public.

Dr Casey is understood to have been greatly saddened by his inability to return home to Galway to attend the funerals of long-time friends and priest colleagues.

But he was back in the headlines last year when it emerged a woman had made allegations of abuse against him.


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