Statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin on the death of Bishop William Lee RIP

06 Jan 2024

Statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin on the death of Bishop William Lee RIP

I was very sad to learn of the death yesterday of Bishop William Lee.  As a priest of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, and later as Bishop of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop Lee devoted his whole life to the service of the Gospel and to the mission of the Church.  

In my role as President of the Irish Bishops Conference I wish to acknowledge in particular Bishop Lee’s immense contribution to the life and work of the Conference over twenty years, from 1993 until his early retirement due to ill health in 2013. During that time he served on the Bishops’ Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and Vocations, as well as on the Commission for the Laity. Bishop Lee also held the post of President of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service. His calm and faithful presence as Episcopal Secretary to the Conference for fifteen years was especially valued and appreciated by his brother bishops. I experienced this at a personal level from the time of my own appointment as Executive Secretary in the autumn of 2008. 

Bishop Lee took a particular interest in matters related to the formation of priests, reflecting his long involvement with seminary life. At the same time he had a strong appreciation of the vocation of marriage and, in his contributions to discussions within the Conference, he was anxious to ensure that preparation and support for marriage and the family was central in the pastoral life of the Church. His interventions at the Commission for Planning, Resources and Communications were typically wise and balanced. 

On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, I wish to express my condolences to Bishop Lee’s family, to Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford & Lismore, to the priests, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, and to all who knew and loved him. I also wish to express appreciation for all those who cared for him over many years of struggling with poor health.

May the light of Heaven shine upon him; may God in his loving mercy look kindly upon him and may he receive the welcome of the good and faithful servant.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.


• Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.