Earlier this week the Longford Leader spoke to the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, Dr Colm O’Reilly, about the restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford town and the many challenges now facing the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Dr O’Reilly has been Bishop of the Diocese for 29 years and will celebrate his 30th year in the role in April next year.
His career in the priesthood has spanned the best part of 50 years, following his Ordination in 1960, and while he has experienced great joy during that time, Dr O’Reilly has also seen many changes and faced numerous challenges as well.
Never a man to shy away from controversy or difficulties, Bishop O’Reilly has spoken candidly on many issues over the past few years including the sexual abuse scandal within the church.
This week, in the Longford Leader, he examines the Church’s stance on abortion and its belief that life begins from the moment of conception.
He also provides more insight into the €30m funding allocation that has been provided for, for the Cathedral’s restoration and highlights the onus of responsibility that is on the Church to carry out the restoration works, because of State laws on the matter.
Dr O’Reilly also addressed the recession and pointed to his concerns around poverty, hardship and social consequence, which he believes, are elements that have emerged in recent times, as a direct result of the austerity measures being implemented by the Irish Government.
The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois also recalls some of most memorable moments over the past 52 years which includes a mixture of sad and happy times and highlights the importance of “hope” and self-belief in these challenging and difficult times.