‘The Brits Helping to Choose Our Bishops’ by Joe McVeigh


Recent reports in the media that the British government wanted to have a direct say in who was to succeed Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich in Ara Coeli did not come as a great surprise. It was clear from the English Press that they were none too happy with Tomás – because Tomás was too pro-Irish and not pro-British enough. In fact, Tomás had no time whatsoever for British imperialism and its destructive influence in our native country. He had not much regard for Mrs Thatcher. He was not an IRA supporter but he wanted a free and independent Ireland.  Because he spoke Irish and came from Crossmaglen and highlighted the cause of republican prisoners he was portrayed in the British gutter press, as an IRA sympathiser. Clearly, the Brits wanted someone more biddable in Armagh, someone who would carry out their wishes. Lo and behold none other than Cahal B. Daly from Loughgiel in County Antrim was appointed to Armagh in November 1990. Cahal had proved his worth to the Brits when he was appointed to Down and Connor in 1982 to succeed Bishop William Philbin, a native of Roscommon. Cahal Daly did not disappoint in Armagh. He was appointed a Cardinal by the Vatican in 1991 which gave him some influence and authority in Rome. He was not going to challenge British policy in Ireland. He was a most agreeable sort of a man who cooperated in every way with the Brits especially in their dirty propaganda war. I remember seeing a front page picture of Patrick Mayhew at his 80th birthday on the front of the Belfast Catholic news. They certainly appreciated his support.


The recent disclosure throws some more interesting light on British policy and attitudes to Ireland –not just in the past but today. Their main aim has always been to control the people and resources of this island. That has been the aim of British imperialism for centuries since they first confiscated the land and planted English and Scottish families here and introduced harsh measures to keep the natives in subjection.


With the establishment of the seminary in Maynooth in 1795 and the Act of Union in 1899 which was supported by the Catholic Hierarchy the Brits were able to consolidate their hold on the whole island of Ireland. That lasted for over 100 years until the outbreak of the 1916 Rising and the Tan war. With partition and the counter revolution they continued to exercise complete control in the six counties and partial control in the 26 counties. God only knows how many bishops the Brits appointed during those years. They (the Irish bishops) were the greatest allies of the Brits along with the Catholic ascendancy and middling class.


With Brexit the Brits see another way of strengthening their control on this part of Ireland. Come to think of it, our diocese is now awaiting the appointment of a bishop. Wonder who that might be?


27 Responses to ‘The Brits Helping to Choose Our Bishops’ by Joe McVeigh

  1. Bridget Cairns August 28, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    is it wonder the churches are empty with only the aged, the catholic church has always been as imperialistic as any empire and I speak as a very shaky Catholic.

  2. Catholicus Nua August 28, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Cahal Daly was utterly opposed to IRA violence. And he was right. It did nothing to further the aim of a united Ireland. It did nothing to protect Catholics.

    And now Sinn Fein and the DUP are determined to drag us back to direct rule from London.

    • Bridget Cairns August 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

      i’m glad you clarified that CD was opposed to IRA violence, however, you forgot to mention British violence, Loyalist paramilitary violence, RUC etc, but perhaps that was an oversight or perhaps not………….

    • Mick Early August 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

      But neither did Daly ever do much for his own people. He condemned IRA violence but was often curiously silent on British abuses! He was little more than a tool of the Brits

  3. Doris Daly August 28, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    re: Bishop Cathal B Daly (no relation!)

    He was first a Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise and ruled from Longford.Town,,,but not for long…he was seen for what he was.and upset one too many powerful persons….I believe he was the first Irish Bishop ever to be relieved of his post in Ireland…..and banished into obscurity.”for health reasons” mar yeagh!….or so we thought. To our consternation, as you letter illustrates, he was resurrected to Glory, a Puppet to rule again… This caused us to question the power of The Bishop and those who pulled the strings. .Rule from The Pulpit was over…..as was covert Rule by The Brits….”.the whited sepulchre was thrown open to the riven sun” .


  4. Brian Patterson August 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    Bishop Philbin who preceded him was an appallingly authoritarian, reactionary and pro-British individual. Ah the higher primates!

  5. Eolach August 28, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    Well considering that Britain built Maynooth and endowed it with a perpetual grant ( the Penal Laws were being repealed and they needed their customary control) ,I suppose they believe that interference is their gift….not that the Church ever objected , as imperialism was also the name of their game also . Cahal Daly was a most objectionable little man , nicknamed “the weasel” in his birthplace ,( and he fitted the title admirably ) he was loathed for his quisling role so it was apt that he was elevated by the British. I can’t help but , in my feeble mind , to momentarily equate him with the recently deceased Mr O’Callaghan

  6. Catholicus Nua August 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    I didn’t mention Bishop Daly’s opposition to violence from other quarters because I didn’t think it needed to me be mentioned, given that it was obvious.

    Bishop Daly went direct from Ardagh and Clonmacnoise to Down and Connor. It was a move to a more important diocese and a return home. Farcical to suggest such a move was “into obscurity”.

    The reason he addressed IRA violence more was because they and their supporters were, in the main, Catholics. Some of them attended Mass. Most of them wanted Catholic funeral liturgies.

  7. Eolach August 28, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    Catholicus Nua , you didn’t mention his opposition to violence from other quarters because it was practically non existent. The reason he concentrated on the IRA and Republicans was perhaps a family history of informants going back into the 20’s and the revenge attacks that were allegedly carried out. He had a spiteful and venomous tongue on him which he deftly used when not in the public gaze and it wasn’t solely reserved for Republicans……. as for volunteers attending mass ….is not the final arbiter ( if you are a catholic ) God himself ….he was supposedly God’s representative on earth and his mission was to guide….not to castigate and censure.

  8. Bridget Cairns August 28, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    “I didn’t think it needed to be mentioned” how naïve do you think we are, you didn,t mention it because it rarely if ever happened, catholicus nua , you are an apologist for a man who betrayed his own flock again and again and amongst the catholic clergy he was not alone. A disgrace of a man let alone a priest.

  9. Catholicus Nua August 28, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    You really think Cahal Daly supported Loyalist death squads?

    • PaulG August 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

      He supported the British, while the British ran most Loyalist death squads (when they weren’t directly murdering Catholics themselves).
      So does that make you “really think” that he was effectively on the same side as them, even though they were killing his flock/punters/power base.
      Quite similar to an ex Sindo journo’s decision to back the anti-democratic British and Orange oppressors on the basis, that if the Unionists didn’t get their way, they would commit ethnic cleansing again.
      Traitors to their people, collaborators in the face of state terror, slippery tongues guiding us back down onto our knees and both very nicely accommodated in British and Irish establishment circles, thank you very much.

      • Tam August 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

        ‘The British’ didn’t ‘run’ ‘most Loyalist death squads’.

        • Wolfe tone August 29, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

          “‘The British’ didn’t ‘run’ ‘most Loyalist death squads’.”

          Have you any proof of this outrageous claim?(where’s Gio when you need him?) Theres plenty of proof that the British state were up to their necks in running unionist terror gangs. They even kept trophies of their deeds in British war museums. Please pay attention there’s a good chap.

          Perhaps you are right? Maybe they ran ALL unionist deaths squads rather than ‘most’? My mistake.

          • Tam August 31, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

            It’s not up to me to provide ‘proof’, but those, like Paul G, making the claim. The burden of proof lies with him.

        • PaulG August 30, 2017 at 6:52 pm #


          The majority of Loyalist paramilitaries above the rank of Graffiti Artist were also working for Special Branch, MI5 or British Military Intelligence.
          99 of 102 Loyalists interviewed in the Stevens inquiry were also agents of the security forces.
          John Weir (RUC and Glennane UVF) who investigated his own gangs murders for the Crown, estimates 80% of Loyalists were also State Agents.
          It is therefore clear that the British were in control of MOST Loyalist death squads. Any invisibility is only due to their ‘Light Touch’ approach, as the ‘Hand’ had no desire to change the direction or activities of their blood soaked ‘Glove’.

          • Tam August 31, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

            The fact that there were lots of loyalist informers does not make it ‘clear’ that ‘the British’ were ‘in control of most loyalist death squads’.

    • Bridget Cairns August 29, 2017 at 8:27 am #

      silence is complicity, the answer is “yes” to your question

    • Wolfe tone August 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

      “You really think Cahal Daly supported Loyalist death squads?”

      Yip. He supported the British state so in turn supported the tools of that State. One of which was unionist terror gangs. It ain’t rocket science.

  10. Mary O'Sullivan August 28, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    The definitive account of British control of Ireland through the Vatican can be googled. I have a hard copy of it: “Ireland and the Pope: a Brief History of Papal Intrigues Against Irish Liberty, From Adrian IV to Leo XIII,” by James G. Maguire, Judge of the Superior Court of San Francisco (1888).

  11. Mary O'Sullivan August 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    The definitive account of British control of Ireland through the Vatican can be googled. I have a hard copy of it: “Ireland and the Pope: a Brief History of Papal Intrigues Against Irish Liberty, From Adrian IV to Leo XIII,” by James G. Maguire, Judge of the Superior Court of San Francisco (1888).

  12. Cal August 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

    There is method to all this, the Catholic Church has seen in two thousand years. They didn’t do that by choosing the weaker side.

  13. gaz August 29, 2017 at 6:01 am #

    Maybe you might get the Bishop post Joe

  14. Brendan Hewitt August 29, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    Some priests aren’t all they seem. Some are open supporters of terrorists. Some are predatory homosexuals. Some are both.

    • fiosrach August 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

      Likewise journalists,politicians and bloggers/posters. And hurlers on the ditch.

  15. Jack Black August 29, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Pity BD was not alive today to witness the obliteration of his beloved Stoop party.

  16. Joe McVeigh August 29, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

    Fiosrach, you said it..