“Ireland’s priests will have almost disappeared in 20 years,” he said. In his new book Who Will Break Bread for Us? he points out that in his native Killala diocese “ for 22 parishes, there are now seven priests under 55. Spool on for two decades and there will be seven (or thereabouts) under 75.”

The book is dedicated to six priests who have been silenced or threatened with silence by the Vatican, Fr Brian D’Arcy, Fr Seán Fagan, Fr Tony Flannery, Fr Gerard Moloney, Fr Iggy O’Donovan and Fr Owen O’Sullivan.