FERMANAGH born priest, Fr Brian D’Arcy has spoken out in defence of a dancing priest after he was heavily criticised for appearing on the 
RTE hit TV entertainment programme, ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

During his time staring on the show Fr Kelly has received abusive messages, some calling for him to quit the show.

One message received asked the priest to ‘give up dancing for lent’.

Callers to ‘Liveline’ criticised the priest with one man remarking, “Jesus Christ never went out dancing for women or anything like there’s no reason why a priest should do it either.”

Fr Brian D’Arcy jumped to the defence of Fr Kelly describing him as a “dedicated priest”.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Fr Brian said, “His priestly life comes first. He uses all his talents as a good human, bringing joy wherever he goes. He is a brave man to put himself out there in ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

He’s in the market place, as we priests are supposed to be. He doesn’t wrap himself up in cotton wool behind presbytery walls.”

Sixty-six year old Fr Ray Kelly will be familiar to many here following his TV debut where viewers watched the cleric’s fancy footwork as he stepped out on the dance floor with professional dance partner, Kylee Vincent.

Speaking to RTE about comments from a section of the general public Fr Kelly said, “I have been a priest for 31 years and I have never experienced that level of criticism that I have received during this programme.”

Gardai have been alerted to incident related to the priest. Despite requesting to quit the show, Fr Kelly, on the advice of production has stayed on. Although his time on the show began a little shaky, after receiving only one point from judge Brian Redmond the first week the Meath priest has managed to hit up to 15 points in recent weeks.



Kelly’s appearance on Dancing with Stars is certainly causing controversy.

Ireland, understandably, is very anti clerical now. The sight of any priest doing anything will cause comment.

Blind faith Catholics (Cathbots) who are a dying breed, are still priest worshippers and go all weak at the knees when they see a 66 year old priest, with sciatica, trying to dance. Ray makes all these feel warm and fuzzy.

LSome Irish people dont give a dam one way or the other.

Others of us cringe at the likes of Darcy and Kelly seeking attention.

I spoke to a priest who trained with Ray who said: “Back then, Ray would only be 5 minutes in a room when he would ask: “Would you like me to sing for you?””

I think a lot of people vote for Ray so they can have a good laugh at his expense

Dancing is not brave.

Criticising the hierarchy public is brave!

Working with lepers of any kind is brave!

Going against the flow in society is church is brave !

Ray is a 66 year old comfortably off and privileged parish priest seeking attention

He must have been taken off the breast too soon?

Entertaining and singing priests promoting themselves on the media comes with a health warning.

Remember Eamon Casey, the womaniser and son denier, Michael Cleary the arch hypocrite who preached no sex before marriage who fathered at least two children, and Tony Walsh, the singing paedophile priest.