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Thursday 2 October 2014

Bishop's quiet rural life far from glory days in Galway

Brian McDonald

Published 18/03/2011 | 05:00

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LIFE in rural Shanaglish could not be more different from the hectic whirl of Eamon Casey's tenure as Bishop of Galway.

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Taking up residence in 1976 in the bishop's "palace" on Taylor's Hill, his reputation as a larger than life figure quickly grew. His immense energy and sociability opened doors to all quarters. He enjoyed a drink, a laugh and a song, loved driving nice cars and was living life in the fast lane.

But his life was changed utterly in early May 1992, when news emerged of his relationship with Annie Murphy and the existence of their son, Peter.

He fled to the US before moving on to Ecuador where he devoted himself to missionary work until 1998.

He was invited to work in the diocese of Arundel and Brighton in Sussex and kept a low profile until late 2005 when news broke of allegations made by a woman living in the UK, but allegedly dating back to his time as a priest in Limerick in the 1970s. Dr Casey immediately informed his bishop, Dr Kieran Conry.

"He withdrew from the parish where he had been working ... he was really knocked back," Dr Conry said.

But moves were already under way for the return of Eamon Casey. He met Bishop Martin Drennan over Christmas 2005 and it was agreed he would return to live in the priest's house in Shanaglish in south Galway. Nowadays, Dr Casey's life revolves around his daily Mass in his living room, meeting old friend Fr Tommy Marrinan for lunch in Gort and a stroll locally.

Irish Independent

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