Bishop soon - Primate in 2014

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The appointment of Derry’s new Catholic Bishop is expected any day now, the ‘Journal’ has learned.

Sources close to the church hierarchy in Ireland believe Pope Francis will make an announcement in the next few weeks - possibly within a fortnight.

The Derry See has been vacant since Bishop Seamus Hegarty retired in 2011 due to ill-health. In the interim, a number of Diocesan Administrators - firstly, Monsignor Eamon Martin and, more recently, Very Rev. Francis Bradley - have been looking after the interests of the parish.

Michael Kelly, an influential commentator on Irish religious affairs, believes an announcement on Dr. Hegarty’s successor will be made very shortly.

Mr. Kelly, editor of the ‘Irish Catholic’ newspaper, thinks the news is “imminent”.

Mr. Kelly also believes that Derry-born Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Eamon Martin, could become Primate of All-Ireland during 2014.

He says Cardinal Sean Brady turns 75 this summer and his resignation as Primate is expected to be accepted, “paving the way” for Archbishop Martin to take over.