Tributes have been paid to Bishop Éamonn Walsh for his “pioneering” work in ensuring child safeguarding within the Church in Ireland.
The Vatican announced in a communique on Monday that Pope Francis had accepted Dr Walsh’s retirement as an auxiliary bishop of Dublin. He turned 75 last month.
Bishop Walsh served as the Apostolic Administrator of Ferns Diocese after Bishop Brendan Comiskey resigned following criticism of his handling of allegations of abuse. Dr Walsh served in this role from 2002-2006 during which time the Ferns Report was published.
The current Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan praised Dr Walsh for having “imagined and implemented a safeguarding infrastructure – Church and State – parish and society – local and national – that has become the blueprint of how the very distressing issue of abuse of children and failings in management are addressed – within and without – the Church in Ireland – and indeed beyond”.
He said that Bishop Walsh had been “pioneering in his approach”. Dr Brennan said that the achievement of Bishop Walsh’s work in Ferns must be viewed against the ongoing Dublin diocesan responsibilities he maintained whilst in Ferns.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said this morning that he was deeply grateful to Bishop Walsh for his service to the Archdiocese of Dublin. Dr Walsh tendered his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI in the wake of the Dublin Report in 2009.
However, it was rejected after the Pontiff found the bishop had no case to answer.