Pope Francis appoints new Archbishop of Cashel and Emly

24 Nov 2014


Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA and Archbishop Charles J Brown.

On Saturday 22 November His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Bishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA as Archbishop of Cashel & Emly. Bishop O’Reilly  succeeds Archbishop Dermot Clifford whose resignation was accepted by Pope Francis on the grounds of age.

Welcoming the announcement Arcbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, said: “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.”  (Read the full text of Archbishop Martin’s statement here)

Speaking at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, Archbishop Dermot Clifford said: “I warmly welcome the Holy Father’s choice of Bishop Kieran O’Reilly to be my successor as Archbishop of Cashel & Emly.  I wish to thank His Excellency, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, for being in the Cathedral of the Assumption today to announce the good news to representatives of the priests and people in the Archdiocese. Over the years, I always prayed that I would be here and well enough to ordain my successor when I reached retirement age.  As it turns out, I now find that I  have already ordained him four years ago in Ennis!  I recall that I anointed him liberally with the Oil of Chrism, without realising that I was anointing him for two dioceses!  I have been privileged to be working with him over the past four years as a Bishop of the Munster Province and as a colleague and friend in the Bishops’ Conference.  We have worked together in a number of Commissions and he is now the Episcopal Secretary to the Conference.  That he is a scholar I learned from others, that he is a gentleman I have found out for myself.” (Read the full text of Archbishop Clifford’s statement here)

Welcoming the announcement Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin said: “Most reflective Catholics recognise the need for a fresh proclamation of the Gospel in Ireland at this time. The new Archbishop brings to his ministry the experience of years as a missionary in Liberia and Nigeria and in the leadership of the Society of African Missions, as well as his more recent experience as Bishop of Killaloe. I hope that this experience can help the Irish Church to re-present the good news of the Gospel to this generation of Irish people which, to use the words of Pope John Paul II, is like “a new continent to be won for Christ”. I wish every blessing and good health to Archbishop Clifford in his retirement and thank him for his personal kindness over the years.”

Bishop Kieran O’Reilly’s Life and Ministry

On 16 May 2010 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced Father Kieran O’Reilly SMA as Bishop of Killaloe to succeed Bishop William Walsh who had retired on completing his seventy-fifth year in accordance with canon 401.1 of the Code of Canon Law.

o    Bishop O’Reilly was born in Cork on 8 August 1952 to Seán and Theresa O’Reilly.  Educated at Scoil Chríost Rí and Coláiste Chríost Rí, he entered the Society of African Missions in Wilton, Cork in 1970.  Bishop O’Reilly was ordained for the Society on 17 June 1978.  He served in Liberia for two years in the Archdiocese of Monrovia before studying for a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.  From 1984 to 1989 he lectured in Scripture at the Major Seminary of Saints Peter and Paul, in Ibadan, Nigeria.  From 1989 – 2010 he served on the Irish and International Councils of the Society of African Missions.  In May 2010 he was appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as Bishop of Killaloe. In May 2014 Pope Francis appointed Archbishop O’Reilly as a member of the Congregation for Religious and Societies of Apostolic Life

At the time of the announcement of his appointment as the next Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, to succeed Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Bishop Kieran was serving as Bishop of the Diocese of Killaloe.  He also serves as the Episcopal Secretary to the Irish Episcopal Conference.S

  • See the official photographs from the announcement in Thurles at the following link