Church of Ireland will be ‘caught’ if hard border introduced, says Archbishop

Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson highlights ‘church of the whole island’

The Church of Ireland will be "quite significantly caught" in the effects of any hard border, Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson has said.

“Having worked happily in one diocese that was on two sides of the border, I’d be sorry not only from the economic perspective but actually from the social interchange and the restoration of normal relationships which had come about,” he said.

Born in Lurgan, Co Armagh, Archbishop Jackson served for 10 years as Bishop of the diocese of Clogher (includes parts of counties Fermanagh, Monaghan, Tyrone Donegal, Louth, and Leitrim), before his election to Dublin.

He said whatever the outcome of current Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK, he wants "the Church of Ireland to continue to make a contribution to Christianity in Europe, and also in both parts of Ireland".


“I wouldn’t want whatever jurisdictional changes may happen to cut across that,” he said.

His concern was “that the Church of Ireland is quite significantly caught in this because we are, like other churches in Ireland, a church of the whole island and we operate in two jurisdictions”.

"The other thing is that so many of the relationships we have between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales predate the European experiment and now that it's under jeopardy I would be sad," he said.

Black Santa

Archbishop Jackson was speaking at St Ann's Church on Dublin's Dawson Street at the launch of the 2018 Black Santa Sit Out, which continues between 10am and 6pm each day until Christmas Eve.

Asked about his six-month suspension of retired Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Glendalough Edgar Swann from taking part in church services for speaking out over a school admissions row in Greystones Co Wicklow, Archbishop Jackson said he was "not in a position to make any comment".

Archdeacon Swann had warned earlier this year that the Church of Ireland community in Greystones was being "torn apart" in controversy over school enrolment policies at the local St Patrick's National School which prioritised children who regularly attend church services.

At the Black Santa Sit Out launch, Archbishop Jackson was joined by Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring, Canon David Gillespie vicar at St Ann's, and children from the choir of Kildare Place National School.

The Black Santa Sit Outs at St Ann's have to date raised over €600,000 for homeless charities such as the Alice Leahy Trust, the Salvation Army, the Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times