It has been announced that the resignation of Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dermot Clifford has been accepted by Pope Francis. Archbishop Clifford resigned on the grounds of age and Bishop Kieran O’Reilly – a native of Cork has been appointed to succeed him.
Archbishop Clifford is a native of Ballymacelligott and himself and the late Denny ‘Good Denny’ O’Sullivan were school-pals and alter-boys together. Denny always took great pride in the fact and followed the soaring career of his friend with much satisfaction and many anecdotes of their days together.
Archbishop Clifford was born in Ballymacelligott on January 25-1939. He was educated at Clogher National School and St Brendan’s College, Killarney. Among his teachers at St. Brendan’s was the late Bishop of Kerry, Dr. Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin. From Killarney, he moved to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he graduated with a B.Sc. Degree in 1960. After Maynooth, he went to the Irish College in Rome, where he was to study for the next four years and was ordained priest on February 22nd 1964. Whilst in Rome, he studied at the Lateran University and obtained a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, being in Rome for the first two sessions of Vatican Council II. As a student, he was given the responsibility of looking after the Irish bishops who stayed in the Irish College.
Dr. Clifford’s first post after ordination was as a teacher and Dean of Discipline in St Brendan’s College, Killarney, where he taught from 1964 to 1972. He commuted to Cork five days per week (1965–1966) for his Higher Diploma in Education. He was later to lecture on a part-time basis in University College Cork in Social Science (1975–1981). He is now a member of the Governing Body representing North and South Tipperary.
Dr. Clifford then studied Social Administration at the London School of Economics (1972–1974), where he was conferred with a Master’s Degree with distinction. From London, he returned to his native Kerry in August 1974 to become Diocesan Secretary. During that time he also served as Chaplain to St. Mary of the Angels, Beaufort, a home for children with learning disabilities.
The Holy See chose him as Coadjutor Archbishop of Cashel and Emly on 17 December 1985. The Principal Consecrator was Archbishop Thomas Morris; his Principal Co-Consecrators were Archbishop Gaetano Alibrandi and Bishop Diarmaid O’Súilleabháin, the Bishop of Kerry. He was parish priest of Tipperary town for two and a half years. On September 12-1988 he was installed as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in a ceremony in Thurles Cathedral, presided over by the late Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.
A keen footballer in his earlier years, he became the first Kerryman to hold the office of Patron of the Gaelic Athletic Association, in 1989. That same year he was awarded a Ph.D. degree for a thesis on Carers of the Elderly and Handicapped at Loughborough University; this was based on studies he conducted in Kerry just before he left.
Archbishop Clifford has served on the Emigrant Commission of the Bishops’ Conference and he helped to set up the Chaplaincy Scheme to the young emigrants in the USA in 1987.
He is currently Chairman of the Irish Bishop’s Research and Development Commission. He is a Trustee of the Bóthar project, which sends livestock to Uganda and other countries recovering from the effects of war and famine.
On 24 March 2010 it was announced by the Holy See that Bishop Magee had formally resigned from his duties as Bishop of Cloyne and was now bishop emeritus and that Archbishop Clifford, already apostolic administrator there, will remain as such until the appointment of a full-time successor to the Cloyne diocese.Archbishop Clifford served as Apostolic Administrator to the Diocese of Cloyne until the new Bishop, Most Rev. William Crean, was ordained and installed on January 27-2013.