New bishops for Derry, Elphin imminent

Pope Francis is expected to shortly appoint new bishops

The changing profile of Church leadership in Ireland will continue during 2014 as several new members are expected to be appointed to fill vacancies within the hierarchy.

Pope Francis is expected to shortly appoint new bishops to the Dioceses of Derry and Elphin, while a candidate is still being sought for Waterford & Lismore after Bishop William Lee announced his retirement due to ill health in October 2013. Derry has been vacant since Seamus Hegarty retired in 2011 due to ill health and Bishop Christopher Jones submitted his retirement as Bishop of Elphin in March 2011 on reaching age 75.

Bishop John Kirby’s retirement as Bishop of Clonfert, which he submitted on his 75th birthday in October 2013, is expected to be accepted once a successor has been chosen.

Later this month, Archbishop Dermot Clifford of Cashel and Emly will reach retirement age and so submit his retirement to the Holy See while Bishop John Buckley of Cork and Ross will reach retirement age in November.


Additionally, Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh turns 75 in August and his resignation as Primate of All-Ireland is expected to be accepted paving the way for Archbishop Eamon Martin to take over the top job.

Of the 24 bishops now leading Irish dioceses, half were appointed by John Paul II, nine by Benedict and three by Pope Francis. By the end of 2014, Francis is likely to have appointed six new bishops, meaning he will have appointed as many as Benedict XVI during his entire pontificate.

Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher, who was appointed in May 2010, is the last bishop to have been chosen from among the clergy of the diocese.