Speculation is mounting that Bishop Dermot Farrell may soon be named to replace Diarmuid Martin as the Archbishop of Dublin.
Several priests in the Dublin Diocese who have spoken to The Irish Catholic this week said that they believed that Dr Farrell is the frontrunner but cautioned that the confidentiality of the process makes predictions notoriously difficult.
It comes as Archbishop Martin has confirmed that he expects he will be replaced before Christmas. However, it is understood that the installation ceremony of a new archbishop may not take place until the new year.
Dr Farrell – who turns 66 later this month – has been Bishop of Ossory since 2018 and is well-known for his hands-on approach.
A number of priests noted as significant that when the four archbishops met Taoiseach Micheál Martin last week to push for a relaxation on the ban on Catholics attending Mass, Bishop Farrell was also present.
A former president of Maynooth, Dr Farrell has made a big contribution to the bishops’ conference since his appointment in early 2018. He has also engaged in an extensive pastoral consultation process and restructured the diocese. He is also credited with bringing more unity to the priests of Ossory after a turbulent period and disagreements over the cathedral.
At a national level, Bishop Farrell is chairman of the council for finance and general purposes of the bishops’ conference and also president of Veritas. He is regarded as financially competent ahd has experience as a fundraiser from his time at Maynooth.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Martin told RTÉ Radio at the weekend that he had a preference for his successor but that his candidate did not want the role.
Priests who spoke to The Irish Catholic said they believed this to be Dr Martin’s close friend the Rome-based Vatican bureaucrat Bishop Paul Tighe.