Monsignor Eamon Martin, administrator of Derry diocese, has been appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh with the right in canon law to succeed Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady when he retires.
Brady is officially due to retire when he reaches the age of 75 in
August 2014 - and he may continue in office until that date.
Cardinal has been subject to much criticism since it emerged in March
2010 that he had conducted inquiries into allegations of child sex abuse
involving Fr Brendan Smyth in 1975 at the conclusion of which he swore
to secrecy two boys who he believed were abused by the priest.
the then Fr Brady’s investigation, Fr Smyth was prevented from
ministering in Cardinal Brady’s native Kilmore diocese until 1984. The
civil authorities were not informed of Fr Smyth’s abuse of children and
he continued to abuse young people until shortly before his imprisonment
by a Belfast court in 1994.
Cardinal Brady said today he
requested in 2010 that Pope Benedict appoint a senior cleric to the
Armagh Archdiocese to assist him. “Today my request has been granted and
I am so very thankful to the Holy Father for acceding to my request,”
“I have known Monsignor Eamon for quite a number of years. When I knew
him first, he was principal of St Columb’s College, Derry, one of the
leading post-primary schools in this country, where, I am reliably
informed, he did an excellent job. Later, he became secretary of the
Irish Episcopal Conference where he did outstanding work."
“As president of the Episcopal Conference, it was my good fortune to
work closely with him and appreciate his many good qualities. As Vicar
General and more recently as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of
Derry, Monsignor Martin has gained invaluable experience.”
Martin said he was shocked when told of the appointment. “I am very
conscious of the great trust that the Holy Father has placed in me, but
in truth I have to admit it was with considerable nervousness and
trepidation that I accepted his call,” he said.
Msgr Martin addressed the abuse scandals that have been exposed over the
last two decades. “One of the greatest challenges facing our Church is
to acknowledge, live with, and learn from the past, including the
terrible trauma caused by abuse,” he said.
“I think today of all those who have been abused by clergy, and the hurt and betrayal they have experienced."
“I am saddened that many good Catholics were let down so badly over the
issue of abuse and that some have even stopped practising their faith.
It saddens me because I love God and I love the Church that I serve."
Martin had been appointed vicar general of Derry in May 2010,
previously to which he had been executive secretary of the Irish
Catholic Bishops Conference.
A native of Pennyburn in Derry city, he attended St Patrick’s College
Maynooth after second level education at St Columb’s College, Derry. He
holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Mathematical Science
from the NUI, Maynooth, a Bachelor of Divinity (Honours) Degree, from St
Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education
(with distinction) from Queen’s University, Belfast and a Master of
Philosophy Degree from Cambridge University.
Born in 1961, he was ordained a priest in St Patrick’s Church,
Pennyburn, Derry, on June 28th, 1987, and served as curate in St
Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, from 1987 to 1989.
Following this he completed his one-year Post Graduate Certificate in
Education, before being appointed to teach at St Columb’s College,
Derry, of which he subsequently became president, in the year 2000. In
2008 he was appointed executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops
Later today Cardinal Brady will lead a Catholic church
delegation at a meeting with the Government in Dublin. It is part of
the ongoing “structured dialogue” process involving the churches, other
faiths and ethical communities.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be accompanied in Government Buildings by
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, Minister for Health James Reilly
and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.
The church delegation will be led by Cardinal Brady, who will be
accompanied by Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise Dr Colm O’Reilly,
Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley, Bishop of Achonry Brendan
Kelly, Fr Michael Drumm, chairman of the Catholic Schools Partnership,
and Fr Gearóid Dullea and Fr Tim Bartlett of the Irish Episcopal
The agenda is expected to include abortion legislation, school patronage
and the divesting of Catholic-run schools to other patron bodies.
Recent unrest in Belfast and the pressures of the recession are also
expected to be discussed.
A plenary meeting was hosted by the Taoiseach in May 2011. It was
attended by Cardinal Brady, senior representatives of other Christian
churches, senior Muslims, Jews, Bahá’is and humanists.
A native of
Laragh, Co Cavan, in the diocese of Kilmore, Cardinal Brady was born in
August 1939. He was educated at Caulfield national school, Laragh; St
Patrick’s College, Cavan; St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and the Irish
College, Rome, where he was ordained in February 1964. He received a
doctorate in canon law at Rome’s Lateran University in 1967.
first appointment was as a teacher in St Patrick’s College, Cavan, where
he worked from 1967-80. In 1980 he was appointed vice-rector of the
Irish College in Rome and in 1987 became rector there, a post he held
until 1993 when he returned to Ireland to become parish priest at
Ballyhaise in Co Cavan.
On February 19th,1995 he was himself
ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, and on the retirement of
Cardinal Cahal Daly succeeded him as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of
All Ireland on October 1st, 1996. He was installed as Archbishop of
Armagh on November 3rd, 1996.
On October 17th, 2007, Pope Benedict
announced Archbishop Brady was to be created a cardinal and he was
elevated to the College of Cardinals at a ceremony in St Peter’s
Basilica on November 24th, 2007. He is currently chair of the Irish