Former Armagh bishop Gerard Clifford dies aged 75

Archbishop pays tribute to ‘one of the great figures of the ecumenical movement’

The former auxiliary bishop of Armagh Gerard Clifford (75) has died.

He resigned for health reasons in 2013. From the townland of Lordship in Co Louth, he was ordained in 1967 for the Armagh archdiocese and appointed an auxiliary bishop there in March 1991.

Announcing his death the Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said that "together with Cardinal Seán Brady, my fellow bishops and the people, clergy and religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh" he was deeply saddened to hear the news.

He described Bishop Clifford as "a devoted and generous priest and bishop who reluctantly had to resign from active ministry in 2013 due to ill health" since when he had endured "increasing frailty and illness" with "characteristic courage, patience and faith."


Bishop Clifford, he said, was "one of the great figures of the ecumenical movement in Ireland – a role he accomplished through gentle friendship and witness".

He “placed great store in the innate decency of people and he used every opportunity to heal the wounds created by violence, distrust and fear” and had “served with distinction as a member of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for more than 20 years, having previously served as its Executive Secretary.”

The Archbishop extended his sympathies to Bishop Clifford’s sister Rose, brother Christopher, his extended family, as well as the people, priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh along with his many friends.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times