Prelate honoured with civic reception

Sat, Mar 27, 2010, 00:00

BISHOP WILLIE WALSH:THE POSITION of Irish bishops is now hazardous for sad reasons and at risk from possibly some mistake made 20 to 50 years ago, Bishop Willie Walsh said yesterday.

Bishop Walsh was speaking to an audience at a civic reception held in his honour in Ennis to mark his 16 years as Bishop of Killaloe. In January, the bishop formally handed in his resignation letter to Pope Benedict on turning 75 and the process to choose his successor is continuing with the diocese’s 100 priests recently voting on who should succeed him.

At the reception, where he received a standing ovation, Bishop Walsh said for all of Irish bishops, “it is a very difficult time, and all of us are at risk from possibly some mistake made anything from 20 to 50 years ago”.

Bishop Walsh added: “All of you councillors appreciate that your position can be hazardous when it comes around to election time and our own positions are hazardous for more serious and sad reasons at the moment.”

Reflecting on his time as bishop, Bishop Walsh said: “I found it a heavy responsibility but . . . tried to be open and honest and transparent at all times and I hope that I managed to get to the end of it.” Dr Walsh said he was “very honoured and chuffed” to be granted the civic reception “in a town . . . that has given me so much”. In a surprise for the bishop at the start of the reception, his colleagues in the over-70s Forever Young choir filed into the chamber and sang songs to honour the Tipperary man.

Bishop Walsh practices with the choir every Tuesday night in Ennis and before joining them on stage to sing at the end of the formal proceedings, the audience joined in with the choir to sing Tipperary anthem Sliabh na mBanto the Roscrea native.

Ennis town clerk Eddie Power said Bishop Walsh broke the mould in his time as bishop.