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Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field - Biographies


Bishop Eamonn Walsh

Irish Times, August 12, 2010

Bishop Eamonn Walsh

BIOGRAPHY : Ordained a priest in April 1969, Walsh became head of Clonliffe College in 1977.

He rose to prominence in the Dublin diocese during the 1980s when he was appointed junior secretary to then archbishop of Dublin, Kevin McNamara, in March 1985.

In 1987 he became secretary to the late auxiliary bishop of Dublin Joseph Carroll, who was then archdiocese administrator.

A year later he was appointed senior secretary to the then archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell (who is now a cardinal).

In 1990 he was ordained Titular Bishop of Elmham and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin with responsibility for the deaneries of Tallaght, south Dublin and Blessington.

He later became a key figure in the church’s response to child abuse allegations.

In May 1999 he was appointed as chairman of the newly established Irish Bishops’ Liaison Committee on Child Abuse. Its initial purpose was to assist co-operation with the Laffoy Commission, later known as the Ryan Commission when Mr

Justice Seán Ryan succeeded Ms Justice Mary Laffoy as chairman following the latter’s resignation in 2003.

MURPHY REPORT’S FINDINGS: It found allegations about a “Fr Dante” (a pseudonym used in the Murphy report) in 1997, which were addressed by Bishop Walsh, had been dealt with appropriately by the archdiocese.

Concerning Fr Noel Reynolds, the commission report records that Bishop Walsh had been informed by a social worker that a client of hers had alleged she had been abused by Fr Reynolds.

Bishop Walsh “advised her to write to the chancellor”, said the Murphy report.

The Ryan report, which felt the archdiocese dealt “extremely badly” with allegations against Fr Reynolds, makes no specific observation on Bishop Walsh’s involvement.


Abuse survivors called on Bishop Walsh to resign not because of the way he handled individual cases but but because has was “part of the regime that facilitated abusing priests to carry on abusing and did nothing to stop it or expose it”.

Bishop Walsh initially rejected calls for his resignation at the bishops’ conference on December 10th last year.

“If I had done any wrong, I’d be gone. And the other thing is that my record on child protection goes back a long way and it’ll continue,” he told The Irish Times.

A few days later he said it would be an injustice if he were forced to resign but conceded he would take this action if he became “a block on the gospel”.

Against a backdrop of media pressure, Bishop Walsh announced his resignation as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin on Christmas Eve.


Pope Benedict yesterday rejected his resignation


Bishop Raymond Field

Irish Times, August 12, 2010

BIOGRAPHY : A native of Drumcondra in Dublin, Bishop Field attended O'Connell Schools and Clonliffe College.

 He was ordained a priest in 1970. In 1991 he became head chaplain to the Defence Forces.

He resigned this post in 1997 when he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Dublin in September of that year.

He is a barrister and has been called to the Irish and English bars. He was also a member of the first successful Irish expedition to Mount Everest in 1993 with Dawson Stelfox.


The Murphy commission found that allegations against Fr Horatio (a pseudonym used in the report), with which Bishop Field had been involved, were dealt with appropriately by the archdiocese.

Where Fr Sergius (another pseudonym used in the report) was concerned, Bishop Field told the commission he believed he was dealing with a priest who had an alcohol problem and was not aware of abuse complaints made against him.

The commission found information given by Bishop Field to priests in the parish to which Fr Benito (a pseudonym) was assigned in December 2003 "was certainly not complete or sufficiently specific".

It was concerned "about the failure to inform Bishop Field about the advisory panel's perception that he had delayed in reporting a complaint of child sex abuse".


Bishop Field said he accepted everything in the Murphy report and defended his own decisions

by explaining that he did not have "all the facts" due to a "deficit of the sharing of information in Archbishop's House".

He initially rejected calls for his resignation.

"Well I don't think I should resign. If I felt that I did anything wrong I would resign, of course, but I don't believe I've done anything wrong. I feel certainly my integrity has been impugned but I do not believe that I did anything wrong and therefore I do not feel that I should resign. I think it would be wrong, actually, of me to resign under those circumstances," he told The Irish Times.

But as pressure mounted in the month following publication of the Murphy report, Bishop Field and Bishop Walsh issued a joint resignation statement.

"As we celebrate the feast of Christmas, the birth of our Saviour, the prince of peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse. We again apologise to them. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have so bravely spoken out and those who continue to suffer in silence," said the statement.


Pope Benedict yesterday rejected his resignation.