Brian D'Arcy

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Brian D'Arcy C.P (born 1 June 1945) is a Passionist priest based in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. A writer, newspaper columnist, broadcaster, and preacher, he serves as Rector of St. Gabriel's Retreat, the Graan, and is the author of several books, including A Little Bit of Religion and A Little Bit of Healing.

Early life[edit]

D'Arcy grew up in the village of Bellanaleck in County Fermanagh.[1] His father Hugh worked at Enniskillen railway station[2] and had been a notable Gaelic Athletic Association footballer in his youth.[3] His primary education was in a local school while his secondary education was in the Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh.[4] Having successfully sat the 11-plus exam, he entered St. Michael's College, Enniskillen.[5] He later studied scholastic philosophy at UCD.[6]

Pastoral life[edit]

In September 1962, at the age of 17, D'Arcy became a novice at the Passionist monastery in Enniskillen.[7] A year later he was transferred to Mount Argus in Dublin.[6] He was ordained a priest in December 1969.[8]

In his early years as a priest, D'Arcy became an unofficial chaplain to the showbusiness community in Dublin, visiting dancehalls seven nights a week and hearing confessions from musicians and fans alike.[9] Such was his fame during this period that he reportedly[by whom?] became the inspiration for Dermot Morgan's character, Father Trendy.[10][full citation needed]

D'Arcy has publicly opposed the existing disciplinary norms regarding clerical celibacy and has sought the possibility to ordain married priests.[11][12]

Concerns have been expressed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about some aspects of D'Arcy's writing; he was warned in April 2012 that he must now submit his writings and broadcasts to an official censor.[13]

D'Arcy has been a prominent supporter of Seán Quinn (once Ireland's richest billionaire) and his family in their court battles with the Irish state. D'Arcy controversially spoke at a rally in July 2012 in protest against the High Court finding Sean Quinn Jnr and his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn were found in contempt of court for not complying with its order to produce the €451 million they had moved out of the state while owing it to the state. While Seán Jnr served his prison time, Peter Quinn (who was found in contempt on the basis of evidence including a video-tape of him in the Ukraine detailing the crime) became a fugitive and is currently at large in D'Arcy's pastoral area of Enniskillen: in 2013 the High Court found Peter Quinn (in absentia) personally liable to repay €145 million of the money he illegally put out of reach of his creditors.[14][15]

D'Arcy was a long-term friend of BBC Radio 2 presenter Terry Wogan, officiating at the weddings of his children. D'Arcy said that Wogan was atheist but spiritual, and that God would admit him to Heaven.[16]

Media career[edit]

D'Arcy hosts a weekly radio programme on BBC Northern Ireland[17] called Religion and Ethics on the air. Since July 1976 he has written the "Father Brian's Little Bit of Religion" column for the Sunday World.[18]

On 15 April 2007, D'Arcy replaced Canon Roger Royle on the long-standing BBC Radio 2 show Sunday Half Hour.[19] On 23 January 2012, the BBC announced that D'Arcy would step down from this role and Diane-Louise Jordan would succeed him.[20] He left the show on 29 January 2012.

On 8 September 2010, D'Arcy appeared on the prime-time BBC 1 programme The One Show discussing the Pope's upcoming trip to the United Kingdom.


D'Arcy received the honorary degree from the University of Ulster.[21]

Response to Murphy Report[edit]

After the publication of the Murphy Report, D'Arcy accused the Vatican of hiding behind legal procedures in not dealing with allegations of child abuse within the church.[22] Following the report's publication he has called for a radical re-formation of the church's structures and resignations of high-ranking figures within the Irish Catholic Church.[23]


  1. ^ D'Arcy, Brian, A Different Journey, (Sliabh Bán Productions, 2006, ISBN 0-9545829-5-0) p.17
  2. ^ A Different Journey, p.18
  3. ^ A Different Journey, p.19
  4. ^ A Different Journey, p.20
  5. ^ A Different Journey, p.21
  6. ^ a b A Different Journey, p.38
  7. ^ A Different Journey, p.27
  8. ^ A Different Journey, p.46
  9. ^ A Different Journey, p.55
  10. ^ Connection with Brian Trendy Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Priest resigns over relationship
  12. ^ Why Ireland Is Running Out of Priests
  13. ^ Liberal priest censured by Vatican
  14. ^ The Irish Times, 30 July 2012
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Terry Wogan was an atheist but spiritual, says Father Brian D'Arcy". Irish Independent. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  17. ^ Weekly radio program
  18. ^ Link to recent article Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Press Release from the BBC
  20. ^ BBC Press Release: Father Brian D’Arcy steps down from Sunday Half Hour
  21. ^ Honorary Degree for Fr Brian D'Arcy University of Ulster, 30 June 2009
  22. ^ 'I was not in a position to comment. The report was already done', Ronan McGreevy, The Irish Times, 1 December 2009, retrieved 4 December 2009.
  23. ^ Brian D'Arcy: Senior Church figures should step down, Ireland On-Line News Headlines, 27 November 2009, retrieved 4 December 2009

External links[edit]

Sunday with Brian D'Arcy at BBC Programmes (BBC Radio Ulster)