By Ann Marie Foley - 31 January, 2019
Bishop Denis Nulty led tributes to Fr John Cummins PP, Abbeyleix, as news broke of the priest’s sudden death in a freak accident on Wednesday afternoon (30 January 2019).
“It is with deep regret and sadness I announce the sudden death of Fr John Cummins, PP Abbeyleix after a freak accident with his car at the Parochial House,” Bishop Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, said in a statement.
The Bishop added that his thoughts and prayers are with Fr John’s mother, brothers and sister, his priest colleagues in Kildare and Leighlin, his team in Faith Development Services and ACCORD, Carlow and his many parishioners in Abbeyleix. Bishop Nulty also remembered his former colleagues in IT Carlow and parishioners of Carlow Cathedral Parish.
“John is a tremendous loss to all of us in the Diocese. I will hold all of you in my prayers over these very difficult and lonely days,” said Bishop Denis Nulty.
There was shock and sadness as the news broke in the local Abbeyleix and Ballyroan communities near Portlaoise in Co. Laois.
Aidan McEvoy, principal of Scoil Mhuire in Abbeyleix, said in a statement: “Dear parents/guardians, it is with great regret that I must inform you all of the tragic death following a suspected accident of our beloved parish priest and Chaplin Fr Cummins R.I.P. Please pray for him and his family at this sad time. A tragic event for our community and our school family. May he rest in peace.”
Fr Cummins was in his fifties and had only taken the post of Parish Priest in Abbeyleix in 2017, succeeding Fr Gerard Ahern.
Gardaí are investigating the cause of Fr Cummins’ death which, at the time of going to print, had yet to be established. Local reports suggest that emergency services including air ambulance had attended the scene as had Bishop Nulty.
Local Cllr John Joe Fennelly said that Fr Cummins was dedicated to his work and to “the life he chose”.
Cllr Mary Sweeney said that he had spent a lot of time meeting and greeting people after Mass.
Fr Cummins is originally from Newbridge. His family is well known and runs the Con Cummins pub on Kildare town’s Main Street. Before moving to Abbeyleix Parish, Fr Cummins was in Carlow where he was based at the Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Office.