Eamon Martin to succeed Brady
Monsignor Eamon Martin, administrator of Derry diocese, has been appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh with the right in canon law to succeed Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady when he retires.
Cardinal Brady is officially due to retire when he reaches the age of 75 in August 2014 - and he may continue in office until that date.
The Cardinal has been subject to much criticism since it emerged in March 2010 that he had conducted inquiries into allegations of child sex abuse involving Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975 at the conclusion of which he swore to secrecy two boys who he believed were abused by the priest.
Following the then Fr Brady’s investigation, Fr Smyth was prevented from ministering in Cardinal Brady’s native Kilmore diocese until 1984. The civil authorities were not informed of Fr Smyth’s abuse of children and he continued to abuse young people until shortly before his imprisonment by a Belfast court in 1994.
Cardinal Brady said today he requested in 2010 that Pope Benedict appoint a senior cleric to the Armagh Archdiocese to assist him. “Today my request has been granted and I am so very thankful to the Holy Father for acceding to my request,” he said.
“I have known Monsignor Eamon for quite a number of years. When I knew him first, he was principal of St Columb’s College, Derry, one of the leading post-primary schools in this country, where, I am reliably informed, he did an excellent job. Later, he became secretary of the Irish Episcopal Conference where he did outstanding work."
“As president of the Episcopal Conference, it was my good fortune to work closely with him and appreciate his many good qualities. As Vicar General and more recently as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Derry, Monsignor Martin has gained invaluable experience.”
Monsignor Martin said he was shocked when told of the appointment. “I am very conscious of the great trust that the Holy Father has placed in me, but in truth I have to admit it was with considerable nervousness and trepidation that I accepted his call,” he said.
Msgr Martin addressed the abuse scandals that have been exposed over the last two decades. “One of the greatest challenges facing our Church is to acknowledge, live with, and learn from the past, including the terrible trauma caused by abuse,” he said.
“I think today of all those who have been abused by clergy, and the hurt and betrayal they have experienced."
“I am saddened that many good Catholics were let down so badly over the issue of abuse and that some have even stopped practising their faith. It saddens me because I love God and I love the Church that I serve."
Msgr Martin had been appointed vicar general of Derry in May 2010, previously to which he had been executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference.
A native of Pennyburn in Derry city, he attended St Patrick’s College Maynooth after second level education at St Columb’s College, Derry. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Mathematical Science from the NUI, Maynooth, a Bachelor of Divinity (Honours) Degree, from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (with distinction) from Queen’s University, Belfast and a Master of Philosophy Degree from Cambridge University.
Born in 1961, he was ordained a priest in St Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn, Derry, on June 28th, 1987, and served as curate in St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, from 1987 to 1989.
Following this he completed his one-year Post Graduate Certificate in Education, before being appointed to teach at St Columb’s College, Derry, of which he subsequently became president, in the year 2000. In 2008 he was appointed executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference.