Monday, March 13, 2017

IRL : Controversial former Bishop of Galway Eamon Casey has died aged 89

Image result for Bishop Eamon CaseyBishop Eamon Casey has died at Carrigoran nursing home in Co Clare this afternoon. 

The 89-year-old died peacefully at around 2pm. 

The controversial bishop left Ireland in 1992 after it was discovered that he had fathered a son.

He spent 14 years in exile in South America but returned to Ireland, and has spent the last number of years in a nursing home. 

He had been suffering from dementia and was unwell in recent years. 

Funeral details have yet to be announced. 

The Bishop, who was both high-profile and a popular media personality in the 70s and 80s, was at the centre of one of the first major scandals to hit the Catholic Church in Ireland. 

In 1992 it emerged that he had engaged in a love affair with Annie Murphy, and had fathered a child with her. 

The news scandalised Catholic Ireland, forcing him to leave in a storm of controversy. 

It also emerged that the Bishop, who was already a household name and had introduced Pope John Paul II at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway in 1979, had been making payments to Ms Murphy for 18 years. To do so he sometimes used money from diocesan funds.

Ms Murphy negotiated a $150,000 settlement from the Bishop in 1990 and went on to secure a book deal: 'Forbidden Fruit: The True Story of My Secret Love for the Bishop of Galway'. 

Annie was a second cousin once removed from Bishop Casey and the pair had met once when Annie was young but began their affair in 1973, meeting up all over Dublin, after she moved here. 

"When Eamon picked me up from the airport that day in 1973, a light went on, there was a spark, that was it. It was as if you believe in reincarnation and we had just picked up from a previous life, as if I had known him all my life," she said in 2012.

"I had never known anything like that or known anyone like Eamon. He was electric, he drove like a lunatic but I didn't feel unsafe, although I gave him a very hard time over it."

Bishop Casey urged her to give the child up for adoption when they learned of her pregnancy. 

Reflecting on that as a woman in her 60s, Ms Murphy said Bishop Casey had no regrets about joining the priesthood. 

"The Church was his cornerstone. He loved people and helping people and he had no regrets about being in the priesthood, but, all the same, he wanted it," she said. 

"I never met anyone so stubborn in all my life. Eamon did a lot of good, but he was incredibly stubborn -- he wouldn't meet you half way. He was able to separate parts of his life, his indoctrination as a priest was strong."

After the new broke Bishop Casey was forced to live in exile in Central America before eventually returning to Ireland in 2006.

In a televised statement that year, his first public statement in 14 years, he apologised for the hurt he caused in the past. 

Speaking from his Co Galway home, he had appealed for prvacy in his retirement. 

"I regret that in the past I let a number of people down. It caused great hurt to some and for that I am deeply regretful and sad," he said at the time. 

His son Peter Murphy, who is based in Boston, developed a relationship with Bishop Casey over the years and visited him in Ireland in 2013. 

He has said in the past that he planned not to attend his dad's funeral but would find his own way to grieve and pay his respects. 

Peter has said he was "proud" of his dad and criticised the Catholic Church's treatment of him stating "treated paedophiles better than they treated my dad".

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