Saturday 21 September 2019

Exclusive: Bishop Casey's former love Annie Murphy speaks following his death

Mother of Casey's son was unaware of his death, writes Alan O'Keeffe

Annie Murphy Picture: Don MacMonagle
Annie Murphy Picture: Don MacMonagle

Alan O'Keeffe

The mother of Bishop Eamonn Casey's son Peter has spoken for the first time since his death.

Annie Murphy, speaking from her home in Southern California, was shocked to hear the news that Bishop Casey had passed away.

She revealed her son Peter (42), now a sales manager and living in Boston,  had a good relationship with his father in his final years.

"Peter is well. Peter has more Casey in him than me. He's very positive...He reminds me a little bit of Eamonn in many ways.

"He's Peter and he has some of me. He's positive."

"He's good with people.

"Peter called me last week and told me that Eamonn was very ill," she said.

She said that her son and Bishop Casey had a good relationship and that Peter had benefited greatly from the relationship.

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"I know that for many years that they were together that they enjoyed that they got along," she said.

Asked about Peter's enjoyment of the relationship, she said: "There was a hole in his life and it brought it forward and I think it made Peter a more well-rounded person."

She asked "if Ireland has birth control now?" and was happy to be reassured that birth control was freely available. She said: "That's the only thing I cared about."

Bishop Eamonn Casey's son Peter with his mother Annie Murphy
Bishop Eamonn Casey's son Peter with his mother Annie Murphy

She asked what age Bishop Casey was when he died and was informed he was 89.

She replied: "Oh dear God in heaven. That's a good life."

Now aged 68, she recalled the huge upheaval in 1992 when she named the then Bishop of Galway as the father of her child.

"It was contentious. He had to acknowledge Peter and it ended up a dreadful fight," she said.

Later, she said: "It was unfortunate. But I did say to him you must acknowledge your son.

"When I left him it was many years ago and I was about 25.

"And I told him 'If you don't acknowledge him, I will fight. That is the only reason I will go at you. I won't stop.'

"I knew what I would do. I know myself I am not petty," she said.

She had told Bishop Casey then that "I'm not going to fight with you but if's human nature...if you have a child and they're going to go at them and I said 'No, you can't do that.' I have to do it. I have to do this," she said.

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She said her partner, the artist Thaddeus H Heinchon, had been ill in recent years but was "one of those people who is stoic...He's doing well though."

Although hugely reluctant to speak publicly at this time, she concluded "It's an old story. And so many things have come out. It's 2017.

"It's the passing of an important individual in your country and my son's father."

A formal joint statement was issued last night by Bishop Casey's son Peter, his siblings and extended family.

It stated: "On behalf of his son, Peter, his brother Father Micheál, his sister Ita Furlong, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, great-grand nieces and great-grand nephews, we wish to acknowledge the priestly work of Bishop Eamonn, especially in the pursuit of social justice for the marginalised, as evidenced by his work with Shelter in London in the 1950s and 1960s and later with his involvement in the setting up and development of Trócaire. Notwithstanding the demands on his time, Bishop Eamonn was a great source of love and support, making himself available to celebrate and to empathise with us in all our important family occasions.

"We wish to thank all of those who supported him in the past, in particular, the clergy and the people of the dioceses of Galway and Kerry, the Irish community in London, his many friends in Limerick and throughout the country and abroad. We would like to extend a very special and sincere thank you to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the management and staff of Carrigoran Nursing Home, Newmarket-On-Fergus, Co Clare, whose care for Bishop Eamonn was of the highest possible standard and ensured that his comfort, dignity and pastoral needs were provided for at all times.

"We respectfully ask that members of the media facilitate the privacy of the family during and after the funeral ceremonies."

Irish Independent

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