Fr Iggy O’Donovan has denied reports that he is being forced to leave his position as Prior of the Augustinian Church in Drogheda, as he prepared to leave the town on sabbatical this week.
Fr Iggy, who is no stranger to controversy and was heavily criticised for issuing an invitation to Church of Ireland minister Michael Graham to join him in an Easter Mass in 2006, said he is aware of “certain parties who made complaints against me and those complaints were passed up the line, but no Augustinian has forced my hand”.
After two terms as prior in Drogheda, Fr Iggy is packing up this week for his new position with the Augustinian community in Limerick as part of the “normal moves in the province”, and told The Irish Catholic his superior offered him the option of a sabbatical and he is “still considering his options”.
Fr Iggy, who celebrated the 30th anniversary of his ordination this year, said “there are elements who are not easy with me or who feel that I am heretical or disobedient” and “who put on pressures on me” but “none of them were put on me by the Augustinians”.
Some 1,500 people attended Fr Iggy’s final Mass in Drogheda last Sunday after his 12 years in the parish. He said it was a “hugely emotional” affair and that he was sad to leave the community.
In his homily, Fr Iggy said he could not leave the town without making reference to Fr Tony Flannery, whom he described as being “persecuted with a zeal that is as pathological as the paranoia that feeds it”.
“How has it come to this, that intolerant and extreme right-wingers — encouraged, apparently, by certain authorities and career-oriented priests — can meet in solemn conclave to determine who is guilty of what these people label heresy?” Fr Iggy asked.