New auxiliary bishop appointed in Dublin

Fr Donal Roche (65) will support Archbishop Dermot Farrell in leading the archdiocese

A new auxiliary bishop has been appointed to the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

Fr Donal Roche (65) will support Archbishop Dermot Farrell in leading the archdiocese. Dublin has been without an auxiliary bishop since 2019 when Bishop Ray Field and Bishop Eamonn Walsh retired.

Previous archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin appointed no auxiliary bishops.

Fr Roche is one of a family of seven from Drimnagh in the city and attended primary and secondary school at Drimnagh Castle CBS.


Following four years working as a clerical officer with Dublin County Council, he entered Clonliffe College in 1980 to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1986.

Fr Roche spent the first 19 years of his ministry involved with religious education – as a priest-teacher in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock, as a diocesan adviser for religious education in primary school and as chaplain to St Mark’s Community School, Tallaght, for eight years.

During this time, Fr Roche also served for about six years as assistant vocations director in the archdiocese.

His first parish appointment was in Lucan South, where he spent seven years followed by 11 years in Wicklow town, also looking after the surrounding areas of Kilbride, Barndarrig and Brittas Bay for four of those years.

Currently he is serving in the Cabinteely-Johnstown grouping of parishes, with additional responsibility for Cherrywood.

In 2019 Fr Roche was appointed episcopal vicar by then archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and has continued in that role under Archbishop Dermot Farrell, with responsibility for the deaneries of Bray, Donnybrook and Wicklow.

Fr Roche is a fluent Irish speaker and often celebrates Mass and the sacraments through Irish in the archdiocese.

An auxiliary bishop is given a titular see and Fr Roche’s will be that of the ancient diocese of Cell Ausaille, situated in Killashee near Naas, Co. Kildare. St Auxilius was said to have been a nephew of St Patrick’s.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times