Navan-born priest is third to occupy Vatican position

"MonsignorA NAVAN-BORN priest appointed to a senior media post in the Vatican this week recalled an "idyllic" childhood in the town's pre-Celtic Tiger years.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, currently Director of the Office for Public Affairs in the Archdiocese of Dublin, is to become Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Warmly welcoming the appointment, Bishop Michael Smith pointed out that Monsignor Tighe was the third native priest of the Meath Diocese to occupy a position in the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications. "Fr Michael Glynn from Turin, Westmeath, worked there from the 1970s and Fr Pat Casserly from Carnaross served at that office until his death four years ago," he said.

The Mayor of Navan, Colr Christy Reilly, welcoming the appointment, said that the Tighe family had made an important contribution to the town of Navan, and in particular to the Navan O'Mahonys GFC.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications is the department of the Roman Curia responsible for the Catholic Church's contact with the mass media on an international level and part of his brief will be to improve and develop Vatican communications policy.

Monsignor Tighe is a son of Macartan Tighe and the former Monica Johnson. Mr Tighe was a former County Development Officer with Meath County Council and his mother was a pharmacist at McKeever's Pharmacy in Navan. His uncles are Dom Tighe (Kells) and Ultan (Joe) Tighe. His late grandfather, Dom, was a garda in Navan.

Mr Tighe took up a position with the IDA in Sligo and the family moved to that county when Monsignor Tighe was 13 years-old. He was a pupil at Loreto Convent Navan from 1962-'66, De La Salle NS from 1966-'70, and St Patrick's Classical Secondary from 1970-'71.

He remembers that Loreto Convent school had a great interest in drama and there was great excitement when the school took away first prize in Slogadh na nOg, leading to his first appearance in the columns of the Meath Chronicle.

He recalled with great affection a Donegal-born teacher, Johnny Gallagher, in De la Salle who "taught maths and fishing". Whatever about maths, the love of angling, along with reading and hill-walking, has remained with him.

"Navan was a lovely, pleasant place in the 1960s and early 1970s," Monsignor Tighe said. "It had a population of only 5,000 but, of course, that was before the Celtic Tiger arrived."

Monsignor Tighe's family lived on the Proudstown Road and he has fond memories of all the neighbours there, including Paddy and Rita Potter and Michael Hilliard, the former Minister for Defence, and his family.

Mons Tighe graduated from UCD in 1979 with a degree in law. Having studied for the priesthood in Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, and at the Irish College in Rome, he was ordained a priest of the Dublin diocese in 1983. His first appointment was as parish chaplain and teacher in Ballyfermot. Later he went on to study moral theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. Since 1990, he has been a lecturer in moral theology at the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin. He was appointed head of the theology department in 2000.