Bishop Eamonn Walsh

 

BIOGRAPHY: Ordained a priest in April 1969, Walsh became head of Clonliffe College in 1977.

He rose to prominence in the Dublin diocese during the 1980s when he was appointed junior secretary to then archbishop of Dublin, Kevin McNamara, in March 1985.

In 1987 he became secretary to the late auxiliary bishop of Dublin Joseph Carroll, who was then archdiocese administrator.

A year later he was appointed senior secretary to the then archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell (who is now a cardinal).

In 1990 he was ordained Titular Bishop of Elmham and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin with

responsibility for the deaneries of Tallaght, south Dublin and Blessington.

He later became a key figure in the church’s response to child abuse allegations.

In May 1999 he was appointed as chairman of the newly established Irish Bishops’ Liaison Committee on Child Abuse. Its initial purpose was to assist co-operation with the Laffoy Commission, later known as the Ryan Commission when Mr

Justice Seán Ryan succeeded Ms Justice Mary Laffoy as chairman following the latter’s resignation in 2003.

MURPHY REPORT’S FINDINGS:It found allegations about a “Fr Dante” (a pseudonym used in the Murphy report) in 1997, which were addressed by Bishop Walsh, had been dealt with appropriately by the archdiocese.

Concerning Fr Noel Reynolds, the commission report records that Bishop Walsh had been informed by a social worker that a client of hers had alleged she had been abused by Fr Reynolds.

Bishop Walsh “advised her to write to the chancellor”, said the Murphy report.

The Ryan report, which felt the archdiocese dealt “extremely badly” with allegations against Fr Reynolds, makes no specific observation on Bishop Walsh’s involvement.

HOW HE RESPONDED

Abuse survivors called on Bishop Walsh to resign not because of the way he handled individual cases but but because has was “part of the regime that facilitated

abusing priests to carry on abusing and did nothing to stop it or expose it”.

Bishop Walsh initially rejected calls for his resignation at the bishops’ conference on December 10th last year.

“If I had done any wrong, I’d be gone. And the other thing is that my record on child protection goes back a long way and it’ll continue,” he told The Irish Times.

A few days later he said it would be an injustice if he were forced to resign but conceded he would take this action if he became “a block on the gospel”.

Against a backdrop of media pressure, Bishop Walsh announced his resignation as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin on Christmas Eve.

OUTCOME:

Pope Benedict yesterday rejected his resignation