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Son pays tribute to love scandal bishop Eamon Casey who passes away aged 89

By Ed Carty

The son of an Irish bishop whose love affair with an American woman rocked the Catholic Church has described him as a source of love and support after the cleric's death at the age of 89.

Eamon Casey died in a nursing home in the west of Ireland yesterday following a long illness.

The former Bishop of Galway gained worldwide notoriety in 1992 after it was revealed that he had secretly fathered a son named Peter with American divorcee Annie Murphy.

He had paid thousands to her for his son's upkeep in the US.

In a statement hours after Mr Casey's death, son Peter joined other relatives, including the bishop's brother Father Micheal and sister Ita Furlong, in a glowing tribute.

"We wish to acknowledge the priestly work of Bishop Eamon, especially in the pursuit of social justice for the marginalised, as evidenced by his work with Shelter in London in the 1950s and 1960s, and later with his involvement in the setting up and development of Trocaire," they said.

"Notwithstanding the demands on his time, Bishop Eamon was a great source of love and support, making himself available to celebrate and to empathise with us in all our important family occasions.

"We wish to thank all of those who supported him in the past, in particular, the clergy and the people of the dioceses of Galway and Kerry, the Irish community in London, his many friends in Limerick and throughout the country."

Ordained a priest in 1951, Mr Casey was appointed Bishop of Kerry in 1969 before taking on the larger and more high-profile diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh in 1976.

A few years before, Ms Murphy and the cleric had an affair when she came to stay with him in Ireland after her marriage in the US broke down. The couple had a mutual friend.

The relationship and the birth of son Peter in 1974 remained a secret for 18 years and emerged along with the scandal that the bishop had been making undisclosed payments to the US for years.

Bishop Casey, a charismatic and respected cleric who was regarded in some circles as being progressive, is said to have wanted his son Peter put up for adoption.

He fled Ireland for the United States as news of the scandal was about to break.

He went to Rome to resign as the head of the Galway Diocese, although he later retained the title.

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