DOZENS of angry Kilcummin residents are expected to arrive at the Bishop’s House in Killarney this Wednesday night as the row over the removal of a resident priest from the parish takes a new twist.
They will gather near St Mary’s Cathedral at 6.45pm to walk the short distance along the Bishop’s Path to deliver a petition, with more than 1,200 signatures, demanding that the decision to remove the priest from their parish be reversed.
The organisers of the protest have asked all those participating to ensure it remains peaceful.
“It’s very important that we have a large turnout of families to show the strength and unity of our parishioners as this has been questioned and doubted by our bishop,” the organisers claimed in a notice issued throughout the parish and on social media.
One of those whipping up support for the strength in numbers petition handover is Cllr Marie Moloney, a Kilcummin resident, who was recently elected to Killarney Municipal District Council.
The standoff has been festering since Bishop Ray Browne announced a diocesan reshuffle following the retirement of three priests who had all worked well into their 70s.
With the lack of vacations well beyond crisis point, the bishop opted to transfer Fr Eamonn Mulvihill from Kilcummin to Castlegregory and his duties in Kilcummin are to be shared by the priests of the Killarney Pastoral Area.
It becomes the eighth parish to be left without a resident priest as the number of available priests continue to dwindle.
Bishop Browne assured the people that Kilcummin would remain a full independent parish with all of its finances and property 100 per cent secure and he acknowledged the upset and sadness experienced by parishioners on the loss of their resident priest.
Killarney Parish Administrator Fr Kieran O’Brien – who is the new moderator in Kilcummin – and Fr Ger Godley already addressed a public meeting in Kilcummin and Bishop Browne later met with a deputation representing the parish but locals were not happy with the outcome.
Parishioners are running a ‘Save Our Parish: Save Our Priest’ campaign and one upset local remarked: “It’s a sad day for the people of Kilcummin and I can tell you we won’t give up without a fight.”
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