A WELL-KNOWN Irish priest has controversially hung up his clerical collar in order to start a family.
Fr David Halpin, 45, originally from north Co. Dublin, had been with the Neilstown and Rowlagh-Quarryvale parishes in the capital for the last five years.
But the clergyman has now left the priesthood after "falling in love" with an unnamed individual.
He told The Irish Star: "I have left the priesthood, I have fallen in love and that's it.
"It is a private reason and I wouldn't be wanting to make any more comment because it's not myself anymore, there's a family now".
He added: "I've not in any way fallen out of the church."
No stranger to controversy
Fr David hit the headlines last year when he was heckled by mourners during the funeral of a shooting victim at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Clondalkin.
The former priest angered the congregation at the funeral mass for Darragh Nugent, 36, after claiming he had made “bad, bad decisions” in his life.
He said: "The truth is we are here today because one person decided that they wanted another person out of the way.
"One person made a decision that they had a license to order a hit, that they have the power of life or death over another.
"We are here because one person thought they were so important that someone else's life could simply be extinguished. Who is responsible for us being here today? That person. The small minded person who made that decision.
"But there are more who share the responsibility. The one who pulled the trigger, and the one who drove the getaway car."
Speaking shortly after the incident, Fr David explained: “As a priest my job is to speak the truth and I aim to do that.
“Everybody should speak against evil, everybody should.”