Church of Ireland bishops call for urgent action on migrants crisis

Bishop of Derry Rev Good says ‘as Christians, we should embrace this opportunity’

Within days of each other a third Church of Ireland bishop, including its two Archbishops, have called for more urgent action by Governments in these islands on the migrants issue.

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Rt Rev Ken Good spoke of the frustration "at the time it's taking Governments to devise a coherent plan to deal effectively" with the issue.

Last week the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Most Rev Michael Jackson said our response to the crisis seemed to indicate that the concept of the common good in Ireland had "gone off our national and ecclesiastical radar."

On Thursday the Church of Ireland primate and Archbishop of Armagh Most Rev Richard Clarke called for action by political leaders on the issue.


Speaking to the Derry and Raphoe diocesan synod this week Bishop Ken Good said, where Governments were concerned, “there is an urgency to this crisis, especially with winter approaching.”

His Church had “already written to Governments in both jurisdictions on this island indicating our willingness engage with plans to support refugees coming to Ireland,” he said.

The Church of Ireland “with its network of 450 parishes spread right across this island, is in a position to offer on-the-ground welcome and support to refugee families,” he said.

The crisis also offered the churches and others “a remarkable opportunity for generosity, for hospitality and for compassion. As Christians, we should embrace this opportunity,” he said.

At the combined Dublin and Glendalough diocesan synods last week Archbishop Michael Jackson said “there are other boats capsizing daily in the Mediterranean Sea and they are full of men, women and children – and more and more of them are not surviving.

“The common good seems to have gone off our national and ecclesiastical radar over the last half–decade”.

He said “we have a housing crisis already. We have a direct provision crisis already. We have a new crisis for a fresh and different group of people for whom there is no housing and no dignity and no future.”

At the Armagh diocesan synod today Archbishop Richard Clarke said “we are living at a time when the world is facing a real crisis in regard to refugees – as tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homeland in search of shelter and safety.

"Even here in Ireland, north and south, there are many areas of real deprivation. In that context, may I again urge all our political leaders here in Northern Ireland to work together for the sake of those in our society who are suffering deeply at this time and who feel that there is no hope for them."

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times