Homelessness in Dublin an ‘international scandal’, says C of I Archbishop

‘People who were promised housing two years ago can expect to die on the street’

Homelessness in Dublin is a local, national and international scandal, Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson has said.

The city was "now a place where people who were promised housing two years ago can expect to die on the street in increasing numbers – and we were told two years ago that what happened to Jonathan Corrie would never happen again," he said.

“This is a scandal of local and national proportions and a matter also of international scandal,” he said.

In December 2014 Mr Corrie (43), who was from a Church of Ireland background, was found dead in a doorway on Molesworth Street in Dublin, near Leinster House.

Archbishop Jackson was delivering his presidential address at the Dublin and Glendalough diocesan synods at Christ Church, Taney, Co Dublin.

He told delegates “our calling is to embrace a duty of care and a ministry of service to what is now a conurbation of at least 1.3 million people and a sprawling workplace into and out of which people from at least 11 nearby counties commute daily.

“It is a geographical area where new towns and new housing are planned and underway within the boundaries of historically existing parishes and I appeal to people in those parishes, as our response develops, to help with initiatives of response.”

As a church, he said, “we have a clear choice: either we confine ourselves to the relatively, or should I say comparatively, small number of people who are members, that is officially members, of the Church of Ireland” or “we take the maxim . . . that the whole world is our parish.”

He reminded delegates the Church of Ireland “has no agreed or coherent definition of membership per se; this also means that exclusivity cannot logically or theologically be part of our spiritual DNA.”

They were fortunate to have "a range of good ecumenical relations right across these united dioceses (of Dublin and Glendalough)" and "that Dublin has a progressive and innovative Inter Faith Charter, thanks to the recently outgone lord mayor Brendan Carr. " Dublin was "the first city in Europe to develop and to implement this," he said.

More broadly, in the context of secular society, he said co-operation and compliance “is good for us as we seek to offer a genuinely public service as part of our Christian presence and Christian contribution to the society of which we are citizens – rightly,” he said.

Such co-operation had meant, for example, that what “people of commitment and competence have brought about in regard to university and hospital chaplaincy over the past two years in these dioceses is quite remarkable,” he said.