Cardinal given a doctorate

 

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by the National University of Ireland.

The award, which was conferred at a ceremony in Dublin Castle yesterday, follows quickly on the controversy created last week by the Cardinal's contribution to a book on the Irish soul.

In an interview with the author, Cardinal Connell spoke of a series of snubs from Trinity College Dublin, notably in 1988 when it "insulted me and through me the Catholic people of Dublin" by inviting him to the award of a doctorate to the then Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin.

Yesterday, he said he was "absolutely delighted" with the award from the NUI. This is his first honorary doctorate, although he was awarded a D.Litt by the NUI in 1981 for published work.

Introducing his conferring yesterday, the pro-vice-chancellor and president of UCD, Dr Art Cosgrove, praised his "political acumen and wry sense of humour - qualities which may surprise some who do not know the cardinal well".

During his thirty years' involvement with UCD, he "was always forthright in expressing his views" and he had been "similarly forthright in his proclamation of the Christian message".

Dr Cosgrove added: "He sees his task as a defender of humanity in an increasingly fragmented contemporary culture - a task he performs with faith, courage and fortitude."

Also conferred during yesterday's ceremony were Dr Miriam Hederman O'Brien, barrister; Prof Patrick Gerard McKenna, vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster, and Mr John Wilson, the former Tanaiste.