THE Bishop of Limerick has expressed his sadness at the decision of the Dominicans to withdraw from Limerick.
As revealed by this newspaper on Monday the Dominican Province has decided that it is to “begin the process of withdrawing” from a number of locations, including Limerick, due to declining clergy numbers.
Based at Saint Saviours Church at Tait Square in the city centre, the Dominicans have had a presence in Limerick since 1227.
“I am personally saddened by the decision of the Dominican Province to withdraw from Limerick. The Dominicans have made an immense contribution to faith in Limerick over the past 800 years and they will be greatly missed in the Diocese, not least by their parishioners,” said Bishop Brendan Leahy.
Fr Brendan Clifford, one of just three priests in the Dominican community in Limerick confirmed the decision to withdraw has been made and said that he expected “sadness” to greet the decision.
“There is bound to be sadness, and Limerick has already had two experiences of that in recent times, the Franciscans and the Jesuits. It is hard that there is a third one falling on that,” he said.
No decision has been made as to when the order will formally withdraw from the city with a spokesperson for the Order saying that “nothing will happen suddenly” and that consultation with the local community will take place before the withdrawal.
Bishop Leahy says he understands the reasons for the decision and hopes to make contact with the Order shortly to discuss the impact of the decision.
“While my first reaction was of sadness, I also at the same time understand the reasons behind this as Dominican clergy numbers have declined dramatically in recent decades. At Diocesan level we are also faced with significant challenges by the fall in clergy numbers and have begun the process of trying to manage this for the years ahead as priests cannot continue to provide the level of services they traditionally have across the diocese,” he said.