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Tributes paid as ex-Bishop of Killala dies at 86

TRIBUTES were paid last night to the former Bishop of Killala, Bishop Thomas Finnegan, who died on Christmas morning aged 86.

The remains of Bishop Finnegan will be brought to St Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, Co Mayo, today ahead of his funeral, to be presided over by Primate of all Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady tomorrow.

Bishop Finnegan, who retired from his position in the diocese in 2002, has been remembered for his pastoral initiatives and for his work in education.

"For 15 years Bishop Finnegan guided the diocese of Killala with exceptional care, genuine wisdom and great love," his successor Bishop John Flemming said.

"He will be remembered for the many imaginative pastoral initiatives which he began, as well as for the contribution he made in the area of the development of the west of Ireland, the care of emigrants and the progress of Catholic education."

A native of Co Roscommon, Thomas Anthony Finnegan succeeded Bishop Thomas McDonnell and was ordained Bishop of Killala in St Muredach's Cathedral in July 1987.

He was ordained a priest at Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth in 1951.

He became parish priest of Roscommon and in 1985 Vicar General of Elphin Diocese.

He was president of Summerhill College, Dublin, from 1966 to 1979 and was chairman of the Catholic Headmasters Association in the 1970s.

Bishop Finnegan was a member of the Irish Episcopal Commissions for Education, Emigrants, and Catechetics. He also served on the standing committee of the Irish Bishops' Conference and the Liaison committee of the Bishops' Conferences of Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

Bishop Finnegan was pronounced dead at Sligo General Hospital on Christmas morning. His remains will repose at St Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, from 4pm today with Requiem Mass at noon tomorrow.

Irish Independent