Northern Ireland

Bishop of Derry appointed to oversee second diocese of Down and Connor

Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown will temporarily take over the running of the Down and Connor Diocese.
Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown will temporarily take over the running of the Down and Connor Diocese.

A SENIOR Bishop in Derry has been appointed to temporarily take over the running of a second northern diocese.

Bishop Donal McKeown (72) is currently in charge of the Diocese of Derry and with immediate effect is also the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Apostolic Administrators are appointed until a permanent Diocesan Bishop can be found.

Along with Archbishop Eamon Martin both Catholic clergymen are now in charge of two northern dioceses.

The Archbishop of Armagh, who has been Primate of All Ireland since 2014, is also in charge of Dromore diocese.

In 2019 he was appointed by Pope Francis to take over the role of Apostolic Administrator of Dromore from Bishop Philip Boyce, who had held the role since March 2018,

Bishop McKeown will take over from Archbishop Noel Treanor, who is stepping down from Down and Connor to become Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union.

Welcoming the news, Archbishop Treanor said Bishop McKeown would bring "a wealth of knowledge and experience" to the role.

He has previously served in Down and Connor as a priest between 1997-2001 as well as Auxiliary Bishop between 2001-14.

"As an auxiliary, Bishop Donal was strongly committed to the fields of education, youth ministry, the Living Church project and I highly valued his insightful guidance and his advice," he said.

"I know that he will bring these same skills to his governance of the diocese, a responsibility he will carry alongside remaining Bishop of the Diocese of Derry.

"As I take leave from the Diocese, I entrust Bishop Donal to the warmth and care of those whom I have had the privilege to know and serve over the last 14 years and I know they will welcome him back as they embraced me upon my arrival.

"I pray God’s blessing on Bishop Donal as he generously takes up this ministry and service within the Diocese of Down and Connor.”