A native of Charlestown, Co Mayo, as spokesman for the Catholic hierarchy in the 1980s, he featured prominently in referendum campaigns on abortion and divorce.
In 1990 he helped broker a solution to the bitter and long-running rod license dispute between lake anglers and the government.
He was a member of the Bishops' Conference from 1979 until 1995. His first appointment was to Clonfert in 1979.
In 1987 he was appointed Archbishop of Tuam, one of the four most important dioceses in the Catholic Church here.
He retired for health reasons in 1995, but served as a priest in South Roscommon until 2009.