The president of Maynooth seminary has denied there is any foundation to an article in the Irish Catholic speculating about its possible closure.

“without foundation”

Monsignor Hugh Connolly, President of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, said today that speculative media reports suggesting that the national seminary may close “are without foundation”.

Monsignor Connolly said,

“There are 72 men studying for the priesthood in Maynooth, making us the largest seminary on these islands and one of the largest in Europe. Media reports today about the possible closure of the seminary are without foundation. The media outlet leading with this incorrect story was sent a reply from us yesterday and its absence from the published copy is disappointing and damaging.

“Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, is a vibrant centre of seminary formation and theological research. In addition to our 72 student priests, we provide academic formation for an increasing number of non-resident seminarians from religious orders, and for 366 lay students.”

Monsignor Connolly concluded,

“Maynooth is confident of its contribution to the future of the Church in Ireland. The Apostolic Visitation to the seminary was a positive and affirming experience for the whole College community. It generated a spirit of hope and enthusiasm which will no doubt play a significant part in the renewal of the Church in our country.”

National Seminary

St Patrick’s College Maynooth is the National Seminary for Ireland and has been forming men for the priesthood since 1795.

The Trustees of the College are the Governing body of the College. The current Trustees are the four Archbishops of Ireland together with 13 other senior bishops. The College comprises the seminary and the Pontifical University, which offers degrees in theology, philosophy as well as theology and arts.

The Apostolic Visitation to St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth took place from January 31st until February 7th 2011. The Archbishop of New York, Archbishop Timoth Dolan led the visitation.