22 June 2017, The Tablet

Maynooth to undergo major restructuring programme

The trustees of Ireland’s national seminary in Maynooth have announced a major restructuring of its management less than a year after it hit the headlines over what the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, cryptically described as “strange goings-on”.

Following the bishops’ summer general meeting, the trustees, who include the country’s four archbishops together with 13 other bishops, revealed the appointment of a new president and a new director of seminary formation at St Patrick’s College.

Under the new plan, the seminary will be separate from the Pontifical University at Maynooth. In a statement, the head of the Irish Church, the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, said that the trustees, in consultation with the Vatican, were looking at the governance structures of Maynooth specifically in relation to the seminary and Pontifical University as interrelated but distinct entities.

The new appointments follow a crisis meeting of the trustees last autumn after a storm erupted in August over claims that seminarians were using the gay dating app Grindr. The crisis came to a head when one trustee, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, announced he was not sending his seminarians to study at the national seminary in County Kildare but to the Irish College in Rome instead. Dr Martin said the atmosphere in Maynooth was “poisonous” and “quarrelsome” and anonymous letters accused seminarians of misconduct. However, on RTÉ Radio last August, then president Mgr Hugh Connolly said there was “quite a healthy, wholesome” atmosphere at the seminary.

The bishops announced the appointment of Fr Michael Mullaney as national seminary president for the next three years, replacing Mgr Connolly.

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