Reception of remains of Bishop Eamonn Casey RIP

15 Mar 2017

The remains of the late Bishop Eamonn Casey RIP will arrive at the main door of the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway city at 7.00pm this evening.  The remains will be received by Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop Emeritus of Galway and Kilmacduagh.

The coffin will then be taken to lie before the main altar of the cathedral by twelve family members.

A brief and simple liturgy follows which will include a scripture reading and psalm read by Helen Clifford, a niece of Bishop Casey.

It is not expected that Bishop Drennan will preach.


Notes to Editors

  • A designated area will be set aside near the front door of the cathedral for video and still photographers.  No other photography is permitted in the cathedral.  One accredited photographer, Mr Joe Shaughnessy, will be permitted to take still photographs inside the cathedral.  He will make pictures available to the media.  Mr Shaughnessy can be contacted at [email protected]
  • The Funeral Mass for the late Bishop Casey will be celebrated tomorrow at 2.00pm, Thursday 16 March.
  • Detailed information and guidance on the Funeral Mass will be issued tomorrow.
  • Please respect the privacy of a family in grief and the dignity of the occasion.
  • The cooperation and sensitivity of the media up to this point is much appreciated.
  • Please see below a brief biography of the life and ministry of the late Bishop Casey:

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 UCG.  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: Diocesan Communications Officer for the Diocese of Galway: Father Diarmuid Hogan +353 (0) 86 888 8642 or the Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444