Archbishop Diarmuid Martin honoured for contribution to Ireland’s ‘moral ethos’

Recent economic recession in Ireland was ‘a crisis about values,’ says Archbishop

 Conferred studetns Carolyn O’Neill, Lara Magdalena Szczepaniak, Helen Roland, Jian Ler Ang and Uao De Heng with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Conferred studetns Carolyn O’Neill, Lara Magdalena Szczepaniak, Helen Roland, Jian Ler Ang and Uao De Heng with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has been conferred with a distinguished fellowship award by Griffith College Dublin for his “outstanding contribution at home and abroad to Ireland’s moral ethos.”

The award was presented by Griffith College president Diarmuid Hegarty.

Presented annually, previous recipients included former President Mary McAleese, Chief Justice Susan Denham, poet and Nobel Prize in Literature winner Séamus Heaney, SDLP co-founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, entrepreneur Martin Naughton KBE, UN special representative for international migration and former European Commissioner Peter Sutherland, and former secretary-general of the European Commission,Catherine Day.

Expressing surprise at receiving the award, Archbishop Martin said he was “deeply honoured by the gesture of recognition” and “humbled to find my name now alongside the names of such a distinguished group of past honourees.”

It was, he said, a special pleasure for him to be honoured at Griffith College “in that much of my personal history was formed in this part of Dublin city. I was born in the old Coombe hospital and my mother’s family history was deeply intertwined with the south-inner-city Dublin Liberties. I lived right opposite Griffith College for many years and my brother lives just 200 metres from here still today,” he said.

Values

But this was “not just a geographical affirmation. The values which impregnated my life from my early years were the values which I inherited from the people and the community of this part of Dublin.

“They were values of honesty and integrity, good neighbourliness and hard work and fair play, as well as a quick sense of humour, a sense of not taking oneself too seriously, but also a deep sense of the personal worth of and the value of investing in the capacities of young people. Families gave so much so that their children could do better than they did.”

Archbishop Martin went on to say that education was “about the values around which we wish to build our own lives and the values we wish to be at the foundation of human association and solidarity.”

The recent economic crisis in Ireland “was not just the fruit of the mismanagement of the technicalities of an economy,” he said.

“It was a crisis about values. It was about a failure to understand the social value of economic theory; it was about an understanding of economy which failed in its focus on its own social function and its contribution to the sustainable values, which go beyond mere pragmatic material objectives.”

The challenge “of how we root our values in today’s society is important. We have had examples of how failing to see disenchantment with establishment values has led to unexpected outcomes. We need not establishment but a sense of united national and indeed international purpose,” he said.

Difference “should not lead to antagonism. Working together to seek the values which underpin our human interaction is vital especially in the current international climate,” he said.