4th Nov 2020

Dear Bishop Dennihan,

Last evening, I received communication from a religious sister in the United States, who supplied information about Fr. Mark Kirby, the previous Prior (religious superior) of Silverstream. In light of this information supported by other correspondence that I have received in recent days; serious concerns now emerge about Silverstream Priory. And, it also raises questions about what has masqueraded as a so-called “visitation” conducted under your auspices as the Ordinary (bishop) of the Diocese of Meath.

In 1995, Fr. Mark Kirby was not resident in his monastic environment for some unknown/arcane “personal reasons”. Last evening, I was informed that in the United States; in 2006, the Virginia-based, Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, had such concerns about Kirby; he was not welcome in its canonical territory, although, I have yet to ascertain whether his entry was prohibited by a canonical Decree.

You may/may not be aware that Fr. Kirby was associated with the infamous/notorious Santa Croce Abbey that had become a byword for financial impropriety and sexual immorality in Rome. The said religious community was formally suppressed during the pontificate of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, in 2011. The scriptor of the present is aware of other unsavoury aspects of Kirby’s past behaviour, however, I will not make reference to same because I will compromise the integrity of my sources. But, it is my understanding that some of this information would be found in the archives of the Diocese of Meath.

Bishop Michael Smith, was known to be among the more traditional/orthodox of the Irish bishops, when he was Ordinary of the Diocese of Meath.

Question One.

In light of the above, is it reasonable to presume that your predecessor in office, Bishop Michael Smith, did absolutely no due diligence on Fr. Mark Kirby? If so, why was due diligence not conducted?

Question Two.

With respect to the whistle-blower at Silverstream, prior to the receipt of his complaint — were concerns about the Priory brought to your attention in the past?

Question Three.

Where is the whistle-blower located at the moment? Is he located in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland?

Question Four.

Has the whistle-blower been formally interviewed by the Charities Regulator?

Question Five.

Can you confirm if the whistle-blower (a priest) has been bound by Pontifical Secret? If so, did you authorise this Ecclesiastical Act? And, who was the administrator of the said Ecclesiastical Act? This is a legitimate question, because it is normative, (I understand from a Rome-based Rotal Advocate) for the Pontifical Secret to be invoked in this kind of matter. Therefore, the whistle-blower is not really in a position to co-operate with the Regulator, due to a fear of ecclesiastical reprisal. Would you agree with this assessment?

Question Six.

If the whistle-blower is currently subjected to the so-called Pontifical Secret, would you be willing to give a written undertaking to the whistle-blower copied to the Charities Regulator that the whistle-blower is free to speak to any investigator without any fear of ecclesiastical reprisal, now and/or at any time in the future?

By this I mean — you give a written undertaking as the Ordinary of the Diocese of Meath (witnessed by the Diocesan Chancellor, ipso jure, an ecclesiastical notary) to the whistle-blower that no ecclesiastical sanction will be imposed on him for any evidence he may give to the investigator by virtue of its investigation into Silverstream. By ecclesiastical sanction — I refer to any of the range of options that can be imposed upon a priest by virtue of the Code of Canon Law. And, this undertaking would be supported by a communication from the Apostolic Nunciature on behalf of the Holy See signed by H.E. Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo.

Question Seven.

Dumb Elijah

Did you personally approve the appointment of Elijah Carroll as the superior of a Silverstream Priory? In light of the fact, he was the bursar (financial officer) during the tenure of Fr. Kirby, is this not an act of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse? This is a legitimate question in light of the fact that Br. Carroll was compliant with the alleged reckless profligacy of Kirby? The website of “Silverstream” makes reference to the fact that the Holy See was consulted, and are you in a position to confirm to the Regulator that the competent Dicastery, received a recommendation from you, and more importantly approved same?

Question Eight.

In light of the very strong influence of Fr. Kirby in the community and in light of the fact that Br. Carroll has not been ordained to the priesthood the latter can be legitimately described as no more than the patsy of the former — do you agree with that assessment?


During the “visitation” a number of allegations emerged about one (1) of the “visitors”, Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO, the current Abbot and Ordinary of Mount Melleray Abbey in Co. Waterford. These allegations included that Richard Purcell had consensual anal sex with a visiting priest in the monastic guesthouse of Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea and had attended, “The Boilerhouse” in Dublin — a well-known gay sauna, where it is alleged he had consensual sex with an ex-seminarian.

Question Nine.

In light of these allegations, and the involvement of Richard Purcell in same, do you consider the investigation to have been compromised by Purcell’s known immorality?

Abbot Brendan Coffey, OSB of Glenstal Abbey was also part of the visitation team. He, too, presides over a monastery where there are a number of deeply compromised individuals. Perhaps the best-known is the former Dom Gregory Collins, OSB, whose activities in Israel were so notorious, he was forced to resign as Abbot. A lawyer has access to screenshots of his Grindr (a gay dating website).

Question Ten.

Thus, it is legitimate to ask was/is the investigation compromised by the involvement of Abbot Brendan Coffey, OSB?

Question Eleven.

Is there any truth in the allegation that the visitation was brought to an abrupt end because certain ecclesiastical authorities in Ireland, were so keen to avoid further damaging leaks to the dissident priest/bishop, Pat Buckley, and to avoid these revelations to appear on Buckley’s Blog?

Over the years, the Irish church seems to have failed the lessons that transparency is always the best course of action. Thus, I am copying this e-mail to the Charities Regulator, and to the e-mail address of the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.

You will, of course, as the Bishop of Meath, provide answers to these questions and further co-operate with the Charities Regulator, if, so requested in light of the present.


Robert Hourigan



Tom, can I add a few questions of my own please?

1. What has happened to the near € 5,000.000 that Silverstream collected between 2024vand 2019?

2. Why has Elijah been appointed prior since he was the man who looked after the money during Kirby’svreign?

3. Did Kirby receive an attorney’s letter telling him to stop asking a USA women with dementia for money?

4. Canon law strictly forbids a priest to be a vagus or wanderer. Why are you not taking responsibility for the whistle blower monk?

5. Did you.personally tell the monk to leave the monastery for “his own safety”?

6. What danger was he in?