A long standing dispute between the former parish priest of Dunhill, Fr Michael Kennedy, and his superior, the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr William Lee, took a new turn this week when Fr Kennedy refused a final instruction from Bishop Lee to resign his position and vacate the parochial house in Dunhill.
It is understood that several ‘deadlines’ have come and gone but that Wednesday last was pencilled in by Bishop Lee as a final date for Fr Kennedy to respond. He has been refusing to cooperate with Bishop Lee for some years now.
It is understood that he was offered a house in the Ballylaneen area by the Bishop if he resigned and vacated the Dunhill house but the gesture was refused. Fr Kennedy was away from Dunhill for some time but recently returned to the parochial house. Fr Paul Murphy, who has been administering in Dunhill, lives in rented accommodation in the parish.
The situation has caused division in the Dunhill area with some parishioners taking sides in the ‘dispute’. As a result, it is known that a number of people, supportive of Fr Kennedy, no longer attend Mass in Dunhill and neither do they contribute their Church dues.
Fr Kennedy, who is distantly related to the US Kennedy political family, made international headlines some years ago when he made an astounding claim that an angry woman, a so called ‘angel of death’, was stalking young men in Dungarvan and deliberately infecting them with AIDS. No such woman was ever found and no evidence of men being infected ever came to light. At the time, Fr Kennedy also claimed that he had been contacted in his Dungarvan home by Diana, the Princess of Wales, who offered him support.