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Bishop Eamonn Walsh to head up new Office for Clergy

By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 September, 2013

Role involves co-ordinating theological, pastoral formation and care of Dublin’s priests, deacons and seminarians.

Bishp Eamonn WalshArchbishop Diarmuid Martin has appointed Dublin Auxiliary, Bishop Eamonn Walsh, as head of the newly-established Office for Clergy in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The announcement was made in the 2013 diocesan appointments list which was published on Thursday.

The role involves co-ordinating all aspects of the theological, pastoral formation and pastoral care of the diocese’s 413 priests, as well as its deacons and seminarians.

Sixty-nine-year-old Bishop Walsh is a member of the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care, the Council for Immigrants and Vice Chair of the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative.

He has served as an auxiliary bishop of Dublin for 23 years since 1990.

In December 2009, he tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict following the publication of the Murphy Report.

However, on 11 August 2010 Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would not be accepting their resignations and that both Bishop Walsh and Bishop Field would return to ministry in Dublin.

Calls were made for Bishops Walsh and Bishop Field to resign from survivors of clerical abuse in the wake of the publication of the report, not on account of their handling of any cases of abuse, but because they were accused of “being part of the regime that facilitated abusing priests to carry on abusing and did nothing to stop it or expose it.”

On 10 December 2009, Bishop Walsh rejected calls for his resignation. He told the Irish Times, “If I had done any wrong, I’d be gone. And the other thing is that my record on child protection goes back a long way and it’ll continue.”

He was widely praised for his role as Administrator of the diocese of Ferns between 2002 and 2006 and his facilitation of the investigations which resulted in the 2005 Ferns Report.

His appointment in Ferns followed the resignation of Bishop Brendan Comiskey over his cover-up of child sexual abuse scandals by priests such as the notorious Fr Sean Fortune.

In May 1999, Bishop Walsh was appointed as chairman of the newly established Irish Bishops’ Liaison Committee on Child Abuse. Its initial purpose was to assist the Laffoy Commission, which later became the Ryan Commission.

Bishop Walsh previously served as a secretary between 1987 and 1990 to the Archbishop of the time, Dr Desmond Connell.

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