Harty, Michael (1922–94), catholic bishop of Killaloe, was born 6 February 1922 at Toomevara, Co. Tipperary, one of the seven children of Patrick Harty, farmer, and his wife, Ellen (née Cleary). Educated at St Flannan's College, Ennis, he entered the seminary at Maynooth and was ordained for the diocese of Killaloe in June 1946. After graduating BA in 1942 and BD in 1945 from St Patrick's College, Maynooth, he undertook postgraduate studies in canon law at Maynooth and qualified with a higher diploma in education from UCG. He later received a DD. He returned to St Flannan's College as a teacher in 1948 but left after one year to return to Maynooth as lecturer in liturgy. In 1949 he became junior dean of the college and served as secretary to the president of the college from 1955 to 1959. He was also editor of The Ordo and the Irish Catholic Directory during this period. In 1959 he took a year's leave of absence to do parish work in Los Angeles. On his return he was appointed senior dean at Maynooth (1960).
Because of his keen interest in liturgical renewal, he served on the organising committee of the Glenstal liturgical congress and was the hierarchy's natural choice for the post of secretary of the national committee of liturgical consultors in 1965. He later served as chairman of the liturgy commission. He edited The people's mass book (1967) and The people's book for Holy Week and Easter, both commissioned to give effect to the new liturgical changes ensuing from the Second Vatican Council. He was also joint editor of the new supplement for the breviary and missal, the Lectionary for weekdays, a founding subscriber to The Furrow, and a regular contributor to Christus Rex and Doctrine and Life.
He was appointed bishop of Killaloe on 28 September 1967, and ordained in November. His episcopacy witnessed the extension of parish boundaries, the construction of ten new churches and over twenty new schools. His concern for his parishioners was marked by his insistence that the priests of the diocese be trained in community development and social work. Deeply concerned about social marginalisation and the difficulties that the poor had in obtaining credit, he served on the episcopal commission for finance. A prominent member of the Rural Housing Association, a group founded to maintain rural population, his main concern was with the problem of emigration. Throughout his tenure he was an outspoken critic of successive governments’ attitudes to the emigrants' plight. Priests of the diocese were regularly sent to minister to the Irish abroad. Known for walking through the streets of Ennis to learn the people's concerns, he advocated a practical church, placing a greater emphasis on community projects such as pre-marriage courses and marriage counselling. He was also actively involved in world development programmes and was a past chairman of the Irish commission for justice and peace.
He died 8 August 1994 at his sister's home in Dublin. A life-long enthusiast of the GAA, he had come to Dublin to watch Clare at Croke Park. Apart from Cardinal Cathal Daly, he was then the longest-serving member of the hierarchy. He was buried in the grounds of St Paul's cathedral, Ennis.