Bishop Comiskey: talks

The former bishop of Ferns, Dr Brendan Comiskey, has begun delivering public talks on bereavement, and addressed a group of more than 100 people at a well-known Monaghan hotel last Wednesday.

Comiskey, who controversially resigned his post in 2002, was strongly criticised for his failure to protect children from notorious clerical abusers such as the late Fr Sean Fortune in a subsequent government report published in 2005.

It criticised Comiskey's failure to report incidents of alleged sexual abuse to authorities, and to keep alleged abusers away from children.

Despite these failures, Comiskey – who is now a recovering alcoholic – returned to his home county of Monaghan last Wednesday night to give a talk to the local Monaghan Bereavement Support group in the Westenra Arms hotel.

Those present heard him give an hour-long free talk on bereavement entitled "The Mystery of Death – Living to Die, Dying to live".

Comiskey, who has since gone on to counsel alcoholics and is bishop emeritus of Ferns, was not available for comment when contacted on Friday.

Lily McMahon of the Monaghan bereavement support group, described Comiskey's address as "fantastic".

But the former Sinn Féin mayor of Monaghan, Owen Smyth, said he was "appalled" that Comiskey had been asked to address the event.

"In my time as an elected rep in this area, I have had to deal with a lot of cases paedophilia," he told the Sunday Tribune. "I think frankly Dr Comiskey is damaged goods."