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Statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin

E-Martin_1 On behalf of the Irish Episcopal Conference I congratulate Bishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA on his appointment today by Pope Francis as Archbishop of Cashel & Emly.  I have known Archbishop Kieran since he became Bishop of Killaloe in 2010. 

 In that time, like the people of Killaloe, I have come to know the warmth of his personality and his gentleness and pastoral sensitivity.  As a new bishop myself, I have appreciated his wise counsel on many matters.  Archbishop Kieran brings a perspective to the table of the Irish Episcopal Conference which is drawn from his wide experience of mission in Liberia and Nigeria.  Conscious of Pope Francis’ dream, mentioned in his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, of a ‘missionary option’ to inspire everything we do in the Church, I have no doubt that Archbishop Kieran will continue to make an invaluable contribution to the renewal and mission of the Church in Ireland.


On this happy occasion I thank the members of the Society of African Missions, and in particular the Irish Provincial, Father Michael McCabe, for ‘giving’ Archbishop Kieran to us to serve as a bishop.  This is another significant day for the Society.  It is also a very special day for Archbishop Kieran’s family and I wish to say a particular word of thanks to his mother Theresa, his brother Joseph and his sisters, Therese and Deirdre for all their love and support throughout Archbishop Kieran’s life and ministry.  We also remember in a special way Archbishop Kieran’s late father Sean, and his deceased brother Sean Óg, at this time.

In this, the fiftieth anniversary year of his priestly ordination, I wish to pay a special tribute to the ministry of Archbishop Dermot Clifford, and to offer him every blessing for a well-earned retirement.  Archbishop Clifford is well known locally and nationally for his qualities of faith leadership, good humour, love of the environment, and devotion to our national games.  I thank him for his care and encouragement to me personally.  Having been ordained as Coadjutor Archbishop of Cashel & Emly in 1986, and as Archbishop in 1988, Archbishop Clifford is Ireland’s longest serving archbishop.  Over these years Archbishop Clifford has offered the Irish Episcopal Conference the benefit of his wisdom and his particular expertise in research and development.  Since 1986 he has made a significant contribution to the lives of the faithful in his own diocese, as well as in more recent times as Apostolic Administrator in the Diocese of Cloyne.  For this, the Church in Ireland, and indeed the Universal Church, owe him a great debt of gratitude for his tireless and selfless service during the most challenging of times.

I ask the faithful to remember Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, and Archbishop Dermot Clifford, in their prayers today and for the future.

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