NEWLY appointed Bishop of Cloyne, William Crean, says he's fully confident that restoration work remaining at The O'Connell Memorial Church of the Holy Cross will be fully completed when he leaves Cahersiveen Parish.
Speaking after news of his promotion, which he remarks "came out of leftfield", the outgoing Canon said there were structures in place to finish the €4.8m project.
"We came to it just at the end of the boom so it was the most difficult time of all to try and do some fundraising but there are a number of people in the Diocese who are quite skilled in leadership to continue with the work," the 60year-old Tralee native told The Kerryman this week.
"We have very good structures in place, including a finance committee and a restoration committee that are completely au fait with what has been accomplished and have a clear outline of what is to be achieved in the immediate future and further ahead," he added.
Over €3m has been raised both locally and in the US since work after the former Canon's move to Cahersiveen in 2006. Approximately €1.75m is now required to complete electrical and heating works, as well as a new audio-visual visitors' centre which will highlight the Christian heritage of the the Iveragh Iveragh Peninsula.
Speaking of his promotion, the new Bishop said he was "absolutely shocked" when Papal Nuncio Dr Charles Brown told him the news and, while he's sad to leave Cahersiveen, he spoke of the challenges ahead in a Diocese still recovering from the damaging findings in the Cloyne report that ultimately resulted in the resignation of Bishop John Magee in 2010.
"There's a combination of feelings - on one side you're happy to accept and taken aback a bit by the trust placed in you, while on the other side there's a certain trepidation about the challenges ahead," he stated.
"I haven't been briefed in detail but I'm aware there's a very good child protection structure in place and they have been working with all the cases that have surfaced. Basically I need to consult with those people and see what has been accomplished and to plan to continue that work," he added.
Trained at St Patrick's College Maynooth and The Gregorian University Rome, he was stationed in a number of parishes including Glenbeigh and Killorglin and was chaplain to Tarbert Comprehensive, before being made Parish Priest in Castlegregory in 1996 and eventually Cahersiveen.
Appointed on the Feast of Saint Colman, patron saint of the Diocese of Cloyne, the new Bishop's ordination is expected in late January and he will be taking up residence in Cloyne in early January.
Bishop Bill Murphy said the outgoing Canon was an "outstanding priest much loved by the vibrant faith community of the Parish of Cahersiveen" and added, "Kerry's loss was Cloyne's gain".