Wednesday, 20 November 2013



A Down and Connor (Belfast) priest wrote yesterday in comments:


Bishop Walsh - "The Clown"

He was obviously referring to Bishop Paddy Walsh - whom he called a "clown" and Walsh's predecessor Cahal Daly.
Cackle Daly

I came to the Diocese of Down and Connor in 1978 and was made a curate at the cathedral in Divis Flats - St. Peter's. At that time Bishop William Philbin was the bishop. Philbin was a shy and remote man - a scholar who spent most of his time translating ancient Greek and Irish. But he never bothered me and generally speaking I think he let the priests get on with it. 

When Philbin retired in 1982 Rome appointed  Cahal Daly as bishop - a native of Down and Connor but who had been the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. He was 66 when he came to Down and Connor.

Unlike Philbin he wanted to be involved in everything and control everything. He was really a nosy old woman. He liked living in his palace, had a personal driver and a "valet" called James. He lived to holiday in French monasteries and buy lots and lots of expensive vestments from France, Belgium and Rome.

I was living at the cathedral with four other priests - Father Vincent McKinley the administrator an ignorant, cynical and woman obsessed North Antrim man), Father Joe McGurnaghan (a cynic who played classical music all day), Fr Jimmy McCabe (a sincerely pious Derry man who was a chain smoker) and Father Seam Crummey a Salesian and an alcoholic.

When he got drunk Father Crummey liked to recite his favourite piece:

I am the King of Siam,
For women I don't give a damn;
But a good looking boy is always a joy,
The say I'm a bugger; I am.

On one occasion when he was drunk he recited this poem in the presence of His Lordship, The Most Reverend Dr Cahal Daly. Needless to say the room went into a stunned and embarrassed silence.

In the presbytery we lived like princes every day. Daily lunch at 1 pm involved vegetable broth laced with sherry, the finest of meats and fish accompanied by the finest of wines, rich deserts, cheese board with port and coffee with brandy.

All around us the people of Divis Flats were living a daily nightmare - 83% unemployment, armed paramilitaries everywhere, abuse of prescription drugs, women with children with different fathers and rampant poverty.

After a year I had to make a choice between life in the presbyters and ministry to the people. I chose the people.

I became involved in the schools, the youth clubs and in tackling the poverty, the awful housing and the car stealing - so called joyriding. We organised a clean-up of the area, a yearly Divis Festival and a residents association.

All of this got me into trouble within the presbytery - resentment, jealousy, anger. On one occasion I was physically beaten up in the priest's dining room.

Father McKinley reported me to Cackle Daly for being disobedient and disruptive. 

Daly loved me to Kilkeel - a place I came to love. There I did all my priestly duties but also tackled the misbehaviour of the UDR (part time British Army regiment) and the efforts of the INLA (paramilitaries) t recruit our young people.

Daly then moved me to Larne. In Larne I did my ordinary priestly duties but also tackled unionist domination and discrimination. For instance while 17% of Larne was Catholic only 3% of Catholics were employed in Ballylumpford Power Station. In 1989 I was elected to Larne Borough Council as a cross community candidate.

In 1986 Cahal Daly sacked me from the parish of Larne and from the Diocese of Down and Connor. He gave me two reasons:

1. Being critical of the church in the media.

2. Being overly involved in community work.

I have stayed in Larne as an independent priest and bishop operating an independent ministry.

In 1990 Cahal Daly was moved to Armagh. Paddy Walsh became the Bishop of Down and Connor.

Soon after he was appointed to sent the diocesan chancellor Canon Raymund Fitzpatrick to open negotiations with me with the hope of a reconciliation.

We had 6 meetings. On the basis of those meetings I prepared a 15 page document for Bishop Walsh on how we might effect a reconciliation. They wanted 7 concessions from me. I have them 10.

I asked for 3 things:

1. That they would acknowledge me as a priest of the diocese.
2. That they would give me a ministry, of their choice, in the diocese.
3. That they might guide me in how I might reconcile my conscience and official church teaching.

This document could not be delivered to the bishop's house or to Canon Fitzpatrick's house. I was to park under a tree in the Somerton Road area of Belfast and pass an unmarked brown envelope to the driver of a car parked under the next tree. That car contained Canon Fitzpatrick who was lying on the floor of the car.

Four weeks later Bishop Walsh wrote to me to tell me that my document was unacceptable and that if I did not cease celebrating marriages by a certain date he would convene a church trial to have me suspended from the priesthood.

Having received that threat negotiations broke down and I was consecrated a bishop, validly but illicitly on May 19th 1998.

The correspondence between myself and Cahal Daly and Bishop Walsh are available for viewing by appointment at The Oratory in Larne and after my death will be publicly available at a Belfast venue.

These were the events that turned me into what they call a church "rebel".

Bishop Pat Buckley



  1. I am so sorry to hear how badly you have been treated, Pat. It is not right. I am a priest too. I am keeping you in my daily prayers and Mass.

  2. Am I the only one who liked Paddy Walsh, he was Bishop when I became a student & ordained. However, I do fear the 'Bishop' a little, perhaps it is a result of Bishop Walsh's principal like appraoch.


  3. I was a lot more easy to enjoy taking the hand out of Bishop Walsh, not so easy of our current Apostle.


  4. Father, thank you for your thoughts and words. Its been nearly 30 years now - so I'm not sitting crying about it everyday :-) I'm getting on with a very busy and very satisfying daily ministry :-) But just putting things on record. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers.


    1. That is good. Keep your head up. We all have to soldier on, Pat :)

  5. Walsh has questions to answer in my view: Donaghy & McCafferty!

    Junior Cleric

    1. I was in the court room listening to Fr Paddy giving evidence. Horrific stuff. He was just a kid. Walsh should be prosecuted and jailed! :( Mick

  6. Cahal Daly was in the pocket of the Brits and turned the D&C into passers of info to Lisbreen and Lisbreen to the Brits!!

    History will reveal all.

    John - SF

  7. How you have suruvived Pat I do not know. I have had a great experience in the Priesthood and I have had good experiences from all of the Bishops. Prayers & Thoughts - Oh and I am a sad old virigin who remained faithful.



    1. You do not sound like a "sad old virgin" to me.

      You sound to me like a compassionate man who has given a life of service and I hope your "virginity" is a joy and not a burden.


  8. It is a measure of Daly's stature that Sir John Hermon, the former Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, saw the Cardinal as "a man who can make a great contribution to peace and reconciliation in this island". The two men became friends, and Daly was able to persuade the Chief Constable to reduce considerably the RUC numbers at IRA funerals in order to avoid confrontations. He also publicly encouraged more young Catholic men to join the mainly Protestant RUC.

  9. Brendan Smyth ministered in the this diocese with the knowledge and consent of Cahal Daly who KNEW FULL well the depravity and evil in his ranks!

    Pat I'd rather be in your ranks than in their ranks, even if I do not agree with you on all things at least your are who you say you are. The other crowd wear so many masks we do not know who they really are.

    Mary - Belfast

  10. This Annesley-Daly deal triggered a fundamental change in the Irish hierarchy's approach to clerical paedophilia, according to a retired RUC detective who interrogated Smyth.

    One good thing he did - don't think the current man would do it!!

    Catholic Solicitor


    Good read.

  12. Walsh knew about Donaghy. Fr Paddy McCafferty warned him. Walsh chose to ignore Fr Paddy and sided with Donaghy. Fr McCafferty was put through a brutal ordeal and had to describe his being raped and violently assaulted in a court room.

  13. What can I say Pat Your story stands as its own witness. Needless to say you have not got wings and I'm sure you made the odd mistake here and there. I was impressed by the P P who honestly responded to my post on your Human v Wicked priest post. The question still remains why so many say they are in shitsville. They know who each other are and yet will not band together to call for justice. To me it sounds that while the reverendissimi are chasing their tails. The Poor Parishioners are being left in spiritual destitution-Sean

  14. I was in the court room listening to Fr Paddy giving evidence. Horrific stuff. He was just a kid. Walsh should be prosecuted and jailed. Mick

  15. I am so sorry for you, Pat, May our Good God bless you,

  16. And what about Mrs Loughran!!!! She sat on Donaghy's case? She is a close friend of Walsh!!

  17. I wish, Pat, you had had the company of more decent, good-hearted, less dysfunctional men - both as colleagues and as bishops, earlier in your priesthood. Things could have been so much different, perhaps. Priest.

  18. Brother,

    Thank you for your insightful comment.

    No perhaps - things would have been different - I would probably be a D&C PP today :-)

    But maybe God has a reason for everything? We stand before The Great Mystery