Dr Casey may take up UK post by next year


The former bishop of Galway, Dr Eamonn Casey, is likely to take up a post in an English diocese from early next year.

It is understood Dr Casey is keen to stay in England for the next two to three years and has been offered a position in a diocese outside London.

Details of the work he might do and the post he might hold have yet to be decided, but it is understood they should be agreed quickly once the holiday period is over.

It is also believed that senior personnel in the Irish Catholic Church have played a central role in arranging this posting for Dr Casey. A statement clarifying his situation may be issued by the Catholic Press and Information Office in Dublin before the end of the month.

Dr Casey (71) has been meeting family and friends since his arrival in England last week and is said to be anxious to have more time with them before taking up active ministry again. He is said to be tired. Sources say he would prefer to have the remaining months of this year to adjust to his new situation, to rest, and to renew proper acquaintance with his large, extended family. It is thought highly probable that the church authorities will accede to this preference.

Dr Casey's desire to spend some years in England before a return to retirement in Ireland was first mooted to The Irish Times as a possibility earlier this year. Sources indicate it was always Dr Casey's own preference. It is believed this would allow him easy access to family and friends in Ireland while still serving in active ministry in the church, and in circumstances where he is less likely to attract continuing media attention.

A further factor thought likely to have influenced Dr Casey's wish to remain in England for the next few years is his desire to see his son Peter (24) more regularly. This could prove more difficult were he based in Ireland. Dr Casey and his son have become close in recent years.

Meanwhile, friends have indicated he never drew a salary during his 16 years as bishop of Galway (estimated at about £30,000 a year) and that all his expenses were paid from diocesan accounts. In his final years in Galway, they say, he did his own cooking and housekeeping, and was a frequent dinner guest of friends and acquaintances.

Sources have also expressed the hope that in two to three years the public and media fascination with Dr Casey will have abated sufficiently to allow him a peaceful retirement in Ireland. It is thought unlikely this would be possible just now, whatever role he might occupy in the Irish church and wherever he might be located.

Further, it is believed that at the end of two to three years the two libel actions related to his case and still pending will have been dealt with by the courts here.

Catholic church authorities in Ireland and England appear to agree that England is Dr Casey's best option for the time being. It is thought highly probably that the Congregation of Bishops in Rome will go along with that view.