Tributes paid to former Church spokesman

Fr Martin Clarke has died at the age of 66 after a long illness

Tributes have been paid to Fr Martin Clarke, a former spokesman for the hierarchy, who has died at the age of 66 after a long illness.

Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin described Fr Martin as ìa deeply spiritual priest of warm disposition and who was blessed with a multitude of giftsî.

A native of Booterstown, Co. Dublin, he served as spokesman for the Church at a turbulent time when bishops struggled to respond to revelations of clerical abuse.

A late vocation, he trained as a solicitor qualifying in 1970. He practised law for five years and at the age of 29, began seminary studies and was ordained in 1980.

Fr Clarke served in Celbridge and Straffan before being appointed Director of Catholic Youth Care in 1983. In 1997 he was appointed spokesman for the hierarchy, a job he held until 2003. He later served as Parish Priest of Monkstown until his appointment to Donnybrook parish in 2009.

Fr Martin was laid to rest following Requiem Mass on October 26 in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, Dublin.