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Archbishop Clifford

Most Rev. Dermot Clifford

M.Sc., Ph.D., D.D.

Archbishop of Cashel & Emly

Dermot Clifford was born in Rathanny, Ballymacelligott, on 25 January 1939. He was educated at Clogher National School and St. Brendan's College, Killarney. Among his teachers at St. Brendan's was the late Bishop of Kerry, Dr. Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin. From Killarney, he moved to St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, where he graduated with a BSc Degree in 1960. After Maynooth, he went to the Irish College in Rome, where he was to study for the next four years and was ordained priest on 22 February 1964. Whilst in Rome, he studied at the Lateran University and obtained a Licentiate in Theology, being in Rome for the first two sessions of Vatican Council II. As a student, he was given the responsibility of looking after the Irish bishops who stayed in the Irish College.

Dr Clifford's first post after ordination was as a teacher and Dean of Discipline in St. Brendan's College, Killarney, where he taught from 1964 to 1972. He commuted to Cork fives days per week (1965-66) for his Higher Diploma in Education. He was later to lecture on a part-time basis in University College Cork in Social Science (1975-81). He is now a member of the Governing Body representing north and south Tipperary.
Dr Clifford then studied Social Administration at the London School of Economics (1972-74), where he was conferred with a Master's Degree with distinction. From London, he returned to his native Kerry in August 1974 to become Diocesan Secretary. During that time he also served as Chaplain to St. Mary of the Angels, Beaufort, a home for children with learning disabilities.

On 24 December 1985, Dr Clifford was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Cashel. Most Rev. Dr Thomas Morris, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, ordained him Bishop on 9 March 1986. He was parish priest of Tipperary town for two and a half years. On 12 September 1988 he was installed as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in a ceremony in Thurles Cathedral, presided over by the late Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.

A keen footballer in his earlier years, he became the first Kerryman to hold the office of Patron of the Gaelic Athletic Association, in 1989. That same year he was awarded a Ph.D. degree for a thesis on Carers of the Elderly and Handicapped at Loughborough University; this was based on studies he conducted in Kerry just before he left.
Dr Clifford has served on the Emigrant Commission of the Bishops' Conference and he helped to set up the Chaplaincy Scheme to the young emigrants in the USA in 1987. He is currently Chairman of the Irish Bishop's Research and Development Commission. He is a Trustee of the Bóthar project, which sends livestock to Uganda and other countries recovering from the effects of war and famine.

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