The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Donal McKeown, bishop of the Diocese of Derry, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Down and Connor with immediate effect, from today, Saturday 21 January 2023.

In response to the announcement of Bishop McKeown’s appointment, Archbishop Noel Treanor said:

“I warmly welcome the appointment this morning by Pope Francis of Bishop Donal McKeown as Apostolic Administrator of Down and Connor, pending the appointment of a new bishop to Down and Connor.

Bishop McKeown brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this appointment having already served the people, priests and religious of Down and Connor as a priest (1977-2001) and as Auxiliary Bishop (2001-2014). It was an honour to have worked closely with Bishop Donal when I first arrived in this diocese in 2008. As an auxiliary, Bishop Donal was strongly committed to the fields of education, youth ministry, the Living Church project and I highly valued his insightful guidance and his advice. I know that he will bring these same skills to his governance of the diocese, a responsibility he will carry alongside remaining Bishop of the Diocese of Derry.

As I take leave from the Diocese, I entrust Bishop Donal to the warmth and care of those whom I have had the privilege to know and serve over the last 14 years and I know they will welcome him back as they embraced me upon my arrival.

I pray God’s blessing on Bishop Donal as he generously takes up this ministry and service within the Diocese of Down and Connor.”


An Apostolic Administrator is appointed to temporarily govern a diocese when special circumstances warrant such an appointment. He governs in the name of the Holy Father pending the appointment of a Diocesan Bishop.

The appointment of Bishop Donal McKeown as Apostolic Administrator has taken place by Decree issued 21 January 2023 which grants him the rights, faculties and responsibilities attributed to a diocesan bishop that are applicable in accordance with canon law.

(above announcement reproduced from the Diocesen Website at

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