Derry’s Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Eamon Martin has been tipped as a possible successor to the Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady.
The speculation has been fuelled by reports that Cardinal Brady is due to step down before the end of the year, a claim denied by the Catholic Church.
However, it has been reported the Vatican is in the process of appointing a coadjutor bishop - a senior clergyman with the right of succession - and that it is hoped someone will be appointed by the end of the year. Mons. Martin has been named as one of five possible candidates for the position.
A church spokesperson has played down the speculation, however, saying, “It is the responsibility of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to appoint cardinals and no-one can second guess that.”