herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

'Casey and Veronica were friends for years after famous interview'

Eamonn Casey visited Veronica Guerin in New York some time after she interviewed him in Ecuador
Eamonn Casey visited Veronica Guerin in New York some time after she interviewed him in Ecuador

Veronica Guerin remained "great friends" with Bishop Eamonn Casey long after her famous interview with him in South America, according to her brother.

The Sunday Independent reporter tracked down Bishop Casey to Ecuador in 1993 after it was revealed he had fathered a son with Annie Murphy.

Arguably the most sought-after interview at the time, Casey chose Veronica for the exclusive scoop. According to her brother Jimmy Guerin, the two became "very fond" of each other.

Relationships

"What made Veronica so successful was that she didn't just go after a story, but built and maintained relationships with the people she interviewed," he said following the news of Casey's death this week.

"Vincent Browne tried to go over and take that interview from her, but she had none of it. She became very good friends with [Casey] and they had great respect for one another.

"Veronica was ahead of her time; she wouldn't have judged him too harshly.

"The bishop must have been happy with Veronica's scoop because, some time later, when she went to New York with her husband Graham to pick up an award, he left South America to spend a few days with the couple.

"Veronica kept in touch with him, along with Graham, throughout the years. She had the balls to go over and find him in Ecuador, which goes to show what a fearless journalist she was. They met up many times over the years in Dublin and he also met my mother."

Bishop Casey died in a nursing home in the west of Ireland on Monday following a long illness.

The former Bishop of Galway achieved worldwide notoriety in 1992 after it was revealed that he had secretly fathered a son named Peter with US divorcee Annie Murphy.

The Catholic Communications Office has confirmed that his removal will take place today at 7pm at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway.

Funeral mass will take place on Thursday at 2pm at the same venue followed by interment in the cathedral crypt.

"I think we lost a good man. He's not a man that abused - he was a man that fell in love. That was his only crime," Mr Guerin said.

"I just feel very sorry for him. It just shows what's wrong with the Church due to the exile he was forced into."

Underworld

In addition to covering the criminal underworld, Veronica also wrote many articles on clerical abuse.

"Veronica played a big part in the story about the Brendan Smyth files being hidden in the Attorney General's office," said her brother.

"She also highlighted the Ferns scandal and would have been well aware of the sins of the Church. She would never have built a relationship with anyone she couldn't respect.

"It was lovely to respect Eamonn throughout the years because he was a good Christian who found himself in the unfortunate situation where he had to choose between the love of the Church and the love of a woman."

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