Parishioners in Kilcummin are taking the fight to keep their parish priest to Rome as their row with the Bishop of Kerry worsens.
The parish near Killarney lost its priest, Fr Eamon Mulvihill, in a reshuffle brought about by the retirement of three priests in the diocese this summer. The decision to move Fr Mulvihill to Castlegregory has been met with shock and protest.
Mass collections have dropped as a substantial number of people continue to boycott the weekend collections. A petition of more than 1,000 signatures was recently handed into the bishop’s house.
Gatherings and public meetings have been held as people questioned the bishop’s representatives about the decision.
Pat O’Sullivan, a parishioner who handed in the petition, said the bishop must answer to Rome and, if there is no satisfactory response from Bishop Ray Browne, he will approach the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
“There are more than 1,000 houses in the parish,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “Kilcummin needs its own priest.”
Eight parishes have lost their priest, but Kilcummin is the first parish in Kerry to mount a campaign of protest.
It is understood the Papal Nuncio is likely to be contacted in the coming days.