Kieran O’Reilly is set to step down from his role as Bishop of the Diocese of Killaloe, four years after succeeding the then Bishop, Willie Walsh.
Cork native, O’Reilly is to become Archbishop of Cashel and Emly following the resignation of Archbishop Dermot Clifford on the grounds of age. O’Reilly will now lead the estimated eighty thousand faithful and govern the ecclesiastical province of Cashel.
Born in Cork in 1952, Kieran O’Reilly was educated at Presentation Brothers and Scoil Chríost Rí. He then entered the Society of African Missions in Wilton, Cork in 1970. Ordained for the Society on the 17th June 1978, he served in Liberia for two years before studying for a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
During the period 1984 to 1989, Bishop Kieran was lecturing in Scripture in at the major seminary in Ibadan, Nigeria. From 1990 up until his appointment as Bishop of Killaloe, O’Reilly served on the Irish and International Councils on the Society of African Missions. At the time of his appointment in 2010 he was serving his second term as Superior General of the Society.
In August 2014, O’Reilly had invited men to apply for posts as permanent deacons in the diocese. This sparked huge protests from women active all over the Killaloe diocese. Posters appeared in churches calling for the male-only diaconate and The Inn At Dromoland was the venue for a protest meeting.
September saw O’Reilly announce he was delaying the introduction of a permanent diaconate following the strong protests.
Bishop O’Reilly will be introduced as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in early 2015 and in doing so become one of the four Catholic Archbishops in Ireland, joining the likes of Diarmuid Martin (Dublin), Michael Neary (Tuam) and Eamon Martin (Armagh). The new Bishop of Killaloe is expected to be announced early in 2015.