Miltown Malbay native, Fr. Des Hillery has been elected as the Administrator of the Killaloe Diocese. The news was confirmed at a recent meeting of the College of Consultors of the Diocese.
Following the appointment of Kieran O’Reilly as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly on Sunday, the position as Bishop of the Killaloe Diocese has remained vacant. It is the first time on record that such an instance has occurred with the Pope allowing the leadership of the Diocese to lapse with neither a Bishop nor a Coadjutor Bishop in place.
Fr. Des Hillery a nephew of former Irish President Patrick Hillery assumes the role of Adminstrator of the Diocese. He is now responsible for the day to day running of the Diocese until a new Bishop is appointed.
Hillery was educated at St Flannans College, Ennis and St Patricks College, Maynooth. In 1984 he was ordained and continued post-graduate studies in Maynooth until 1985 receiving the STL. Following on from that, Hillery completed the Higher Diploma in Education in UCC while at the same time teaching at St Finbarrs College, Farranferris.
Speaking after his appointment Fr Hillery expressed his gratitude at receiving the position and his outlined his hopes for the term of office. “I am privileged to accept this new role and hope to continue the good work of Archbishop Kieran and Bishop Willie in encouraging us to respond to the challenges of the Gospel. I hope to do all that I can to facilitate the continued implementation of the Pastoral Plan for the Diocese of Killaloe which recognises our shared mission as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. I respectfully ask that the people of the diocese would keep me in their prayers as we await the appointment of a new bishop.”
A former St Flannans school teacher, Hillery has not served in the diocese since departing his teaching role in 1994. Fr. Hillery spent six years overseas volunteering with the Columban Missionaries in Lima, Peru. Since his return in 2012, he has acted as Parish Priest in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
In recent days a spokesperson for the Irish Bishops Congress when questioned as to when a new Bishop would be appointed to the Killaloe Diocese replied that “The only person who knows that is Pope Francis”.