Love affair scandal Bishop Eamonn Casey dies aged 89

The late Bishop Eamon Casey
The late Bishop Eamon Casey

An Irish bishop whose love affair with an American woman rocked the Catholic Church in the 1990s has died.

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

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Ireland said the clergyman died on Monday afternoon.

He was 89 and had been suffering a long illness.

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

A couple of years previously divorcee Ms Murphy and the cleric had an affair when she had left the US to stay in Ireland following the breakdown of her marriage.

The couple had a mutual friend.

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

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

He fled Ireland for the US as news of the scandal was to break and he went to Rome to resign his role as the head of the Galway Diocese.

Later he spent some time in Mexico before taking up a role as a missionary in Ecuador.

In the late 1990s he began working in the parish of St Paul's in Staplefield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, in England.

He retired to Ireland in 2006 and on his return he made his first public statement on the affair in 14 years and apologised.