Eamon Casey

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Eamon Casey
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Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Grace
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style none

Eamon Casey (born 24 April 1927 in Firies, County Kerry) is Roman Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Galway and Kilmacduagh in Ireland.

Priest and bishop[edit]

Casey was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Limerick on 17 June 1951 and appointed Bishop of Kerry on 17 July 1969.[1]

He held this position until 1976, when he was appointed Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and apostolic administrator of Kilfenora. While in Galway, Casey was seen as a progressive. It was a significant change in a diocese that had been led for nearly forty years by the very conservative Michael Browne (Bishop from 1937 to 1976).

Casey was highly influential in the Irish Catholic hierarchy, and served as bishop until his resignation in 1992. He was a friend and colleague of another highly prominent Irish priest, Father Michael Cleary. Although they both represented a liberal trend in the Church, they continued to support priestly celibacy and oppose pre-marital sex, abortion, and similar issues.


Irish emigrants[edit]

Casey was well known for his work aiding Irish emigrants in Britain. In addition, he supported the Dunnes Stores' staff, who were locked out from 1982 to 1986 for refusing to sell goods from apartheid South Africa.

US foreign policy[edit]

Casey attended the funeral of the murdered Archbishop of San Salvador, Monsignor Óscar Romero. He witnessed first hand the massacre of those attending the funeral by government forces. He then became a vocal opponent of United States foreign policy in Central America, and, as a result, opposed the 1984 visit of United States President Ronald Reagan to Ireland, refusing to meet him when he came to Galway.


In 1992, newspapers discovered that Casey had had a sexual relationship with Annie Murphy, an American divorcée. Together they had a son, Peter, born in 1974 in Dublin. Murphy later claimed that, during the pregnancy, Casey had attempted to persuade her to give the child up for adoption at birth. She chose not to do so and raised him with the help of her parents. When Murphy decided to go public about the relationship and informed The Irish Times, Casey tendered his resignation and left the country. She later published a book, Forbidden Fruit, in 1993 revealing details of their relationship.[2]

Casey resigned and his action is regarded as a pivotal moment when the Roman Catholic hierarchy began to lose its considerable influence over the society and politics of Ireland.[3] He was succeeded by his Secretary, Bishop James McLoughlin, who served in the post until his own retirement on 3 July 2005.

Casey opted to embrace the life of a foreign missionary in South America. He worked with members of the Missionary Society of St. James in a rural parish in Ecuador, despite his lack of knowledge of the Spanish language. During this time, he would travel long distances to reach the widely scattered members of his parish. After his missionary period was completed, instead of returning to Ireland, Casey took a position in the parish of St. Pauls, Haywards Heath, in South East England. He returned to Ireland in 2006.[4]

In 2005, Casey was investigated in conjunction with the Sexual abuse scandal in Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora diocese. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.

He is the subject of Martin Egan's song "Casey", sung by Christy Moore. He is also the subject of the Saw Doctors song "Howya Julia".


In August 2011, Casey was admitted to a nursing home in County Clare because he was in poor health.[4] He had stated in an interview in May 2010: "My memory is gone badly for a long, long time. I got four mini strokes in my brain about eight years ago. They told me - they were very blunt - they said 'You've had four mini strokes on your brain'. I said 'What does that mean?' 'You're on your way to Alzheimer's or a stroke.' And I said 'What can I do?' 'Very little,' they said."[5]


  1. ^ "Bishop Eamon Casey". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  2. ^ *Annie Murphy, Peter de Rosa; Forbidden Fruit: the true story of my secret love for the Bishop of Galway (1993); ISBN 978-0-316-90573-2
  3. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0607090342jul09,0,3397459.story
  4. ^ a b Casey admitted to nursing home Irish Examiner, 2011-08-31.
  5. ^ Bishop Casey attends launch of book about Trocaire Irish Times (via Highbeam), 2010-05-07.