Archbishop Eamon Martin pays tribute to Bishop John Fleming


Statement by Archbishop Eamon Martin on the retirement of Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala
I join with the people, clergy and religious of the Diocese of Killala in offering my warm appreciation and very best wishes to Bishop John Fleming on his retirement as Bishop of Killala.  Bishop John is one of the longest serving Bishops in Ireland and has remained completely committed to his vocation and pastoral duties and responsibilities in a wide variety of roles. 

As President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, I want to express my gratitude to Bishop John for his immense contribution to the work of the Conference and its agencies over many years.  Even before his episcopal appointment by Pope John Paul II in 2002, he had already generously served as Rector of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome during which time he chaired the Irish Committee for Jubilee 2000 and was responsible for the restoration of the Chapel of Saint Columbanus in the crypt of Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Over the years Bishop John has served as Chairman of Cura and has continued to work tirelessly in supporting and raising awareness of the dignity and value of human life at every stage.  Bishop John was a member of, and chaired, the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the Bishops’ Conference, contributing to the organisation of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress and World Meeting of Families and other major national events in the life of the Church.  He took a particular interest in supporting the implementation of the Charities Act 2009 throughout the dioceses of Ireland.  At heart, however, he was a pastor and shepherd who had a deep sense of vocation of the clergy, religious and all the baptised.  In this regard he has offered much wise counsel to the meetings of the Irish Episcopal Conference.   

As Bishop John now retires I trust that he will be supported by the continued prayers and affection of the people, priests and religious of the Diocese of Killala and by his many friends around the country.  I offer him prayerful good wishes for health and happiness in the years ahead and look forward to our continued friendship.

I also offer my prayers today for Bishop Paul Dempsey as he takes on a new challenge as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.  He has many skills and much experience to bring to Ireland’s largest diocese and he will no doubt bring great energy and enthusiasm to this challenge, as he has done so in the Diocese of Achonry.  I also wish every blessing to Archbishop Francis Duffy and to Bishop Kevin Doran as they accept new responsibilities as Apostolic Administrator of Killala, and Apostolic Administrator of Achonry respectively.

Please remember all our bishops in your prayers and thoughts as these new appointments take effect in the coming months.


  • Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, is Primate of All Ireland and President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.