Statement by Father Diarmuid Hogan regarding the death of Bishop Eamonn Casey RIP

13 Mar 2017

The Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh has asked the Catholic Communications Office to release the following news:

“Having been ill for some time, Bishop Eamonn Casey, Bishop Emeritus of Galway and Kilmacduagh, died peacefully early this afternoon (Monday, 13 March  2017) at Carrigoran Nursing Home, Co Clare.

“There are no further details available, including funeral arrangements, at the present time.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.”


Notes to Editors

  • Canon Michael McLoughlin is the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh.  Father Diarmuid Hogan is Diocesan Communications Officer.
  • Brief biography and ministry

Born in Co Kerry on 24 April 1927, Eamonn Casey was educated in Limerick and in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Limerick in 1951.  Over the following nine years he worked as a curate in two Limerick city parishes –  Monaleen and Saint John’s – before being appointed to the Irish Emigrant Chaplaincy Service in England.  Between 1960 and 1969 the then Father Casey pioneered the provision of housing for Irish emigrants to England and in 1963 was appointed National Director of the Catholic Housing Aid Society by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

Appointed Bishop of Kerry in 1969, Bishop Casey became the first chairman of Trócaire, the Irish Catholic Church’s overseas development agency, at its foundation in 1973.  His passionate advocacy for social justice and for those marginalised by inequality gave him a significant public profile and his work in this area continued throughout his life.  Following the retirement of Most Reverend Michael Brown after thirty-nine years as bishop of Galway, Bishop Casey was installed as his replacement in July 1976.

Over the next sixteen years he worked to ensure that the Diocese of Galway responded effectively to a very significant growth in the urban population.  Bishop Casey dedicated new churches in Barna, Quirke Road, Headford Road, Ballybane, Maree and Knocknacarra as well as his particular favourite – the Chapel of Saint Columbanus, adjacent to the campus of the then University College Galway.  In a time of extraordinarily high bank interest rates, Bishop Casey established the ‘Meitheal Programme’, whereby individual parishes could borrow development finance from a central fund at a nominal cost.  He also was instrumental in establishing Galway Social Services as well as outreach services for members of the Travelling Community and prisoners at home and abroad.

Never afraid to express his views clearly, Bishop Casey was present at the funeral of his murdered friend Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador when the liturgy was interrupted by bombs and intense gunfire which left almost fifty mourners dead.  Bishop Casey also voiced strong objections to the visit of Ronald Regan, the President of the United States of America to Galway in 1984 because of American foreign policy particularly in Central America.

Perhaps the highlight of his time in Galway however was his organising and hosting the visit of Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul) to the city on 30 September, 1979 to meet and pray with 300, 000 young people from all over Ireland.

Bishop Casey resigned as Bishop of Galway in May, 1992 following disclosures that in 1974, as Bishop of Kerry, he fathered a son.  Subsequently Bishop Casey worked as a missionary priest with the Society of Saint James in Ecuador until 1998 when he returned to parish ministry in the Diocese or Arundel and Brighton in the south of England.  In 2006 he came home to live in Shanaglish, near Gort, Co Galway and subsequently at Carrigoran Nursing Home in Co Clare in 2011 where he died peacefully on Monday, 13 March 2017.  May he rest in peace.                                      

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678