Ongoing economic and social neglect of cross-border communities needs to be addressed in aftermath of IRA statement – Bishop Joseph Duffy

02 Aug 2005

Press Release

2 August 2005

Ongoing economic and social neglect of cross-border communities needs

to be addressed in aftermath of IRA statement – Bishop Joseph Duffy


The Bishop of Clogher, Dr Joseph Duffy today said: “Last Thursday’s
statement of the IRA in declaring without ambiguity or reservation
a complete cessation of violence as a political weapon can only be
welcomed by all shades of opinion on both sides of the border. It
has been wisely said more than once over the past few days that it
will take months if not years to enable us to grasp its full significance
for the ongoing and demanding task of building up lasting peace and

“I appreciate that fulfilment of the declaration, actions not words,
is the issue, but I am equally aware that the statement is an essential
first step towards the long-term goal which is the construction of
a normal united community.   

“This is not in any way to take from the importance of the statement
or to give less than full credit for the long hours of hard work of
the part of the negotiating teams on all sides. The immediate value
of the statement is to draw attention to the extreme urgency of
continuing to address the legacy of the conflict, to renew our
resolution to healing the scars of generations. How best to build
openness and trust within, and between, divided communities – where
the opposite has become a deeply-embedded way of life – is the essence
of the task.  There is so much work to be done to encourage mutual
understanding, strict and self-critical fair play and a genuine sense
of interdependence on all sides. There can no longer be winners and
losers here, only winners.

“The issue is especially critical in our cross-border communities. The
ongoing economic neglect of these communities on both sides of the
border over years is an obvious and urgent need, crying out for
immediate and vigorous attention, to be addressed as intrinsic to
the overall social health of the country, north and south. But it’s
not at all the full answer to our current problems. Time and again,
particularly in private conversation, we get glimpses into a hidden
Ireland out there that expresses itself in sectarian terms, that condones
crime on one’s own side while deploring it on the other and this
approach seems to ignore basic tenets of truth and morality when it
comes to matters of public service and responsibility.  In our more
honest moments we may admit this to ourselves, but surely the time
has come to face the implications in whatever practical ways we can,
and this can begin with our neighbours in our own parish and area.”


Notes for Editors

* The Most Reverend Joseph Duffy, was ordained Bishop of Clogher on
the 2nd September 1979.

* The Diocese of Clogher covers the counties of Monaghan and Fermanagh
and parts of the counties of Tyrone and Donegal.

* Information regarding on the Diocese of Clogher:
Parishes: 37
Catholic Population: 86,047
Catholic Churches: 86
Patron of the diocese:  St Macartan

* Bishop Duffy is a member of the Bishops’ Conference’s Department of
Planning and Communications, and is Chairman of its Commission on
Communications.  Bishop Duffy is also a member of the Conference’s
Commission on Europe.

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)