McVerry tells new solicitors of responsibility to build just society
Social justice campaigner said ‘greatest happiness’ is in giving
Kate Hogan from Kilkenny, Kady O’Connell from Dublin, Niamh Rogers from Donegal, Laura O’Sullivan from Wexford, Laura Cullinan from Dublin and Avril Molloghan from Longford, in Blackhall Place yesterday, where they received parchments as solicitors. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry last night told a group of newly qualified solicitors it was incumbent upon them to use their privileged position to build a fairer society.
He was speaking at a ceremony at Blackhall Place, Dublin, where 52 newly-qualified solicitors received their parchments and were admitted to the roll of solicitors.
“The achievement of this moment is the culmination of a huge amount of work,” he said.
“You have had a lot of support. You did not get here by yourself and it is important for you to acknowledge that. The acknowledgment of that support in your life is part of the foundation of a fair society.
“Life is very unfair. That is certainly one of the lessons I have learned from working with the homeless. I have heard horrific stories.
“I have heard of a 13-year-old child sitting down at the kitchen table with both parents injecting heroin into their arms. Another sent out to be a prostitute so her parents would have enough money to get drunk.
“One of the things I am very grateful for is that I grew up in a good home. My parents protected me. I realised when I grew up just how lucky I had been.
“You are part of a sector of society that is very privileged and it is incumbent upon you to play your part in the building of a fairer society. It is a very important role you have in making this society a more just one.”
He said the “greatest happiness in life” was in giving to others. “Ask any two teenagers who are madly in love – they know the greatest pleasure is in giving rather than getting. It is the taking up of the cause of those who are poor and marginalised that will give you the most pleasure.
“If we don’t do this, we are setting down a road to a more marginalised society and those who are marginalised will express that in criminality and antisocial behaviour.
“Please give your support to the many people that need you. You can make a difference.”