THE Taoiseach Enda Kenny today welcomed the announcement of the appointment of Monsignor Eamon Martin as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and successor to Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady when he retires.
"It's a matter entirely for the Catholic Church but I think the fact that the new appointment has some experience of the area of children protection and security obviously is very welcome," he said.
The Taoiseach said that he had "very good relations with the Catholic Church", adding that he was due to meet Cardinal Brady this afternoon to talk about what he described as "a very long agenda as part of the structure dialogue that I have with the churches. I'm very happy to engage with the [Catholic] church. We have lots to talk about".
However, relations have been strained between the Catholic hierarchy and the government due to a number of issues, including the closure of Ireland's Vatican embassy, the Taoiseach's post-Cloyne Report criticism of the Holy See's handling of child abuse scandals, and the coalition's decision last month to proceed with legislation on the Supreme Court abortion ruling.
In December, Mr Kenny told Fine Gael party colleagues that he had received a message threatening "revenge for Cloyne" but did not say who had sent it.
Among the Catholic delegation at today's meeting in Government Buildings are Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Dr Colm O'Reilly, Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley, Bishop of Achonry Brendan Kelly, Fr Michael Drumm. And the topics for discussion will include abortion legislation, school patronage and the divesting of Catholic-run schools to other patron bodies.
Mr Kenny was speaking at the official opening of Sky Ireland's new operations centre in Dublin which currently employs 450 people, with the company planning to double the number by June.