St Patrick’s College president appointed to Irish College in Paris

Maynooth seminary was subject of controversy around alleged ‘gay subculture’

The president of the national seminary St Patrick's College Maynooth, Msgr Hugh Connolly, has been appointed chaplain to the Irish College (Collège des Irlandais) in Paris.

Msgr Connolly has completed the usual 10-year term as president at Maynooth. A fluent French speaker, he served on the Fondation Irlandaise, the governing body a the Collège des Irlandais, for 10 years until 2007.

In June of last year Msgr Connolly was granted a year’s leave of absence for study purposes while continuing as president at Maynooth. At the conclusion of his sabbatical he was to return as professor of moral theology.

Theological formation

In June of last year also Fr David Marsden, vocational growth counsellor at Maynooth, resigned unexpectedly for reasons believed related to his concerns about theological formation at the seminary.


Controversy erupted later last summer following anonymous allegations about seminarian activities in Maynooth, including sexual harrassment and that some had been using a gay dating app. Dissatisfaction was also expressed at procedures for addressing complaints in the College.

The seminary said in a statement there was “no concrete or credible evidence of the existence of any alleged ‘active gay subculture’” at the College.

‘Poisonous atmosphere’

Last August Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin announced he would no longer send seminiarians to Maynooth due the “poisonous atmosphere” there.

Three students from Dublin were sent to the Irish College in Rome instead.

Meanwhile, Ferns priest and regular contributor to this newspaper Fr Chris Hayden has been appointed editor of the Catholic Bishops' Intecom magazine.

He was the only survivor of four Irish priests who dealt with the formation of seminarians at the Irish College in Rome following an apostolic visitation there in 2011, led by Cardinal Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan.

Following removal of his colleagues at the college, Fr Hayden requested that he too be allowed leave.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times