The Papal Nuncio has been in contact with clergy in the diocese and after consultations, will send a list to Rome of the three names favoured by local priests.
However, the new bishop may not be selected from this short-list, as happened in the diocese of Killaloe when the three favoured names put forward to replace Bishop Willie Walsh were overlooked with the naming of African missionary Fr Kieran O’Reilly as the new bishop-designate.
Fr Tony Mullins, parish priest of Dromin Athlacca, who has been administering the diocese since the departure of Bishop Murray, said: “The Nuncio has asked general questions on who the priests think is suitable and than they come back with a survey of more specific questions on particular people. The normal procedure is that the office of the Nuncio would decide on three names and send it off to Rome.”
Fr Mullins refused to comment on speculation about names on the list but sources in the diocese said it may include Mons Dan Neenan, PP Monaleen; Fr William Walsh, Our Lady of Lourdes, Ennis Road; and Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon of Mungret. Mons Neenan and Fr Fitzgibbon are vicars general of the diocese.
One priest said: “The three names you mention would very much be seen as capable of carrying out the good work of Bishop Murray in reforming the diocese.”