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New head chaplain appointed to Defence Forces

By Sean Ryan - 28 September, 2015

Former chaplain at Sarsfield Barracks has served on overseas missions in Kosovo, Chad and the Lebanon.

Robert-Eoin-Seamus

Fr Robert McCabe, Mgr Eoin Thynne & Fr Séamus Madigan. Pic courtesy militarychaplaincy.ie

Limerick-native Fr Seamus Madigan has been appointed head chaplain to the Irish Defence Forces.

His appointment follows nine years as chaplain at Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick.

In that time he has served on overseas missions in Kosovo, Chad and the Lebanon as well as providing pastoral care and spiritual support to Defence Forces members in Limerick.

Fr Seamus said it is was “a great honour” to be appointed to the new role, where he will head up a team of 14 chaplains.

“It is a big move, but it is a great opportunity too,” said Fr Seamus, who will be based at Defence Forces headquarters in McKee Barracks in Dublin.

“I will be quite involved with the 1916 centenary celebrations and it will be a wonderful honour to be in the centre of that,” he added.

Fr Seamus’ mother Kathleen and six of his seven siblings still live in the Croagh area.

He was ordained in Croagh in 1991 for the Society of St Francis de Sales (Salesians), and was incardinated in the Diocese of Limerick in 2003 when he was appointed chaplain in Castletroy Community College, a post he held until taking up the chaplaincy at Sarsfield Barracks, where he served for nine years.

He also served as Diocesan Communications Officer for a period until 2007, and presented a show on Live 95FM and 102fm local radio.

Congratulating Fr Madigan on his appointment, the Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy said, “Seamus has been a very popular chaplain in Sarsfield Barracks both in his duties here and during his service abroad with the peacekeeping operations.

“He will now take his strong and caring pastoral role and spiritual support to the national post and we wish him well in this. We will miss him, but at least we know he will also have contact with Limerick in his new role, and look forward to meeting him through that.”

Chaplains are appointed to a military installation by their bishop or religious superior after consultation with the head chaplain and following approval by the Minister for Defence.

All bring with them qualifications and skills in from a wide range of pastoral care situations as university chaplains and lecturers, former missionaries, teachers, musicians, broadcasting, sportsmen.

Chaplains do not carry rank. Instead they hold the title ‘Chaplain to the Forces’ (CF).

A chaplain accompanies each deployment of soldiers. During the activation of a unit, he familiarises himself with all appointment holders and with all ranks.

His contact with all personnel is also supported by chaplains at home in Ireland and with fellow chaplains from other nationalities serving in the mission area.

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