Statement of Bishop Kevin Doran on his appointment as Apostolic Administrator of Achonry

10 Apr 2024

Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin and Apostolic Administrator of Achonry 

At the beginning of Holy Week, the Apostolic Nuncio confirmed to me that Bishop Paul Dempsey would be moving to a new assignment and that I would be appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry.  While providing for the pastoral care of the Diocese of Achonry, this also represents an invitation from Pope Francis for the two Diocesan communities of Achonry and Elphin to deepen the close relationship that we already have.  In keeping with what was envisaged already in the Decree Christus Dominus of the Second Vatican Council, we are called to look beyond existing boundaries in order to further develop the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit and to use them even more effectively in the service of the Gospel.  I see in today’s announcement the possibility of a new Springtime and I very much welcome it.  I know the geography of the Diocese of Achonry fairly well and in the coming months I look forward to meeting the priests, deacons, religious, diocesan staff and parish communities to “put faces on the places”.

The bishops of the Tuam Province have always worked closely together and while we will be fewer in number for the foreseeable future, that will not change.  I take this opportunity to wish Archbishop Francis Duffy well as he takes up his additional role as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Killala.  I would also like to express my gratitude to Bishop Michael Duignan, who, with the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Clonfert and the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, has shown us that dioceses working together in a closer union is more than possible today.
I first met Bishop Paul Dempsey many years ago, when both of us were priests on the other side of the Shannon, and I have enjoyed working with him in recent years, especially given the closeness of our two dioceses in so many ways.  As a former priest of Archdiocese of Dublin, I appreciate the enormous contribution made by so many wonderful auxiliary bishops there over the past fifty years.  Now, as Bishop Paul begins his own new mission there, I wish him every blessing and happiness.
Finally, this is also a very significant day for Bishop John Fleming as he completes his mission as Bishop of Killala.  I have known him for fifty years and have had the privilege of working with him for almost twenty of those years.  He has never sought to draw attention to himself, but he has made an enormous contribution to the Church in Ireland, far beyond the limits of the Diocese of Killala.  I wish him every blessing and good health in his retirement.