Ex-Green Party chief Trevor Sargent to become a priest

Former minister for food answers religious vocation ‘to submit to the greater wisdom’

Trevor Sargent lives in Wexford with his second wife, Áine Neville, where they are involved in organic horticulture. Photograph: The Irish Times

Trevor Sargent lives in Wexford with his second wife, Áine Neville, where they are involved in organic horticulture. Photograph: The Irish Times

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Former Green Party leader Trevor Sargent is set to become a priest in the Church of Ireland.

Mr Sargent (56) has been training ahead of his ordination at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute while also studying for a Masters degree in Theology at Trinity College Dublin.

Mr Sargent served as a TD for Dublin North and became the Green Party’s leader in 2001. He resigned as leader in 2007 and was appointed Minister of State for Food in the Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition. He resigned as Minister in February 2010 after admitting unlawfully contacting the gardaí about a criminal case involving a constituent who had been assaulted. He subsequently lost his seat in the 2011 general election.

Mr Sargent is set to be ordained a deacon and could become a priest in the Church of Ireland soon after that.

“I have had a calling to the church since my school days. The long and winding road that we go on is sometimes hard to account for,” He told the Irish Independent’s Review magazine.

Christian calling

Mr Sargent said that a life in politics and a life in the church had some similarities. “The common theme ought to be a sense of service. But the nature of a Christian calling is that you are never the boss, you are always the servant,” he said.

“The boss is Jesus Christ, and when you forget that you go off the rails. In politics, you have to convey the idea that you are superhuman, because your competitors are going to convey that.

“In the church you are representing the brokenness of humanity and you submit to the greater wisdom that comes from a belief in God.”

He added during his time as a TD, he would slip out of the Dáil to St Anne’s Church on Dawson Street at lunchtime for Holy Communion. Mr Sargent, who originally trained as a primary school teacher, lives in Wexford with his second wife, Áine Neville, where they are involved in organic horticulture.

The former politician wrote a book, Trevor’s Kitchen Garden: A week-by-week guide to growing your own in food, in 2012.

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