Dermot Farrell was born in 1954, the eldest of seven children of the late Dermot and Carmel Farrell, in Garthy, Castletown-Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath.
After his primary education in Castletown-Geoghegan and Streamstown, he attended St Finian’s College, Mullingar. In September 1972 he began his studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1976, as part of his philosophical studies. During his theological studies he was awarded a Bachelor in Divinity Degree in 1979 and a licence is Theology in 1981, both by the Pontifical University, Maynooth.
He was ordained to the priesthood in St Michael’s Church, Castletown-Geoghegan on 7th June 1980.
Upon the completion of his studies he was appointed as Curate in the Cathedral Parish of Christ the King, Mullingar. In 1985 he began doctoral studies in the Gregorian University and in 1988 he was awarded a Doctoral Degree in Theology, for a dissertation entitled: “The Dogmatic Foundations of Bernard Häring’s Thought on Christian Morality as a Sacramental Way of Life.” His final year in Rome also saw him serving as a Director of Formation in the Pontifical Irish College.
Following his return from Rome he was appointed Curate in Tullamore Parish and in 1989-90 he began lecturing in Moral Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. In 1990 the Maynooth College Trustees appointed him Executive Assistant to the President of College and to membership of the Faculty of Theology, holding the post of Director of the one-year Religious Studies Programme. In 1993 he was appointed Vice-President of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth; and in 1996 he was appointed President of the College, a position he held until his retirement in 2007
In 1997 he was named as an Honorary Prelate of his Holiness. From September 2007 until 2018 he served as Parish Priest of Dunboyne and Kilbride Parish, Co. Meath, being appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Meath in 2009.
Bishop Farrell has extensive administrative experience: he has served on various Boards and Committees, among them, the Board of Allianz plc; the Governing Body of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; the Theological Department Irish Inter-Church Committee, and as National Director of the Permanent Diaconate, and he is currently Chairman of Veritas Communications.
His appointment as Bishop of Ossory by Pope Francis was announced on 3rd January 2018. He was ordained Bishop in St Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, on 11th March 2018.
He was elected Finance Secretary of the Irish Bishops’ Conference in March 2019.
Bishop Farrell’s episcopal motto “Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini” is taken from Psalm 124.
This psalm is a meditation on the mystery of God as expressed in God’s name YHWH, the name we dare not utter. The God who reveals himself in the Scriptures lives out his divinity by showing himself to be a rescuer in and from death: God is God-for-us (Rom 8:31) and God-with-us (Matt 1:23). Rooted in the present, Psalm 124 extends our trust in the saving presence of God far into the future. The Christian is called to trust the One who created everyone, and in whose mercy we are brought to life (John 3:15-17). Everything is in God’s hands. In the words of Saint Teresa of Avila: Dios sola basta — God alone suffices.