Interfaith group in urgent call for State funding to be doubled

Forum has ‘huge role to play’ in addressing divisions, migration, reckless politicians

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said he had been told it was the first time in Europe an interfaith group had developed such a strategy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said he had been told it was the first time in Europe an interfaith group had developed such a strategy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

The Dublin City Interfaith Forum (DCIF) has said direct funding from the exchequer is urgently needed if it is to continue its work.

It needed to see “a doubling of current funding” if it is to deliver on a three-year strategy, launched on Monday, Human Rights Day, said executive officer Adrian Cristea.

The Dublin City Interfaith Forum Strategy 2018–2021 was launched by Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Nial Ring at the Mansion House.

Founded in 2015, DCIF is a network of people from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Sikh faiths in the city. Representatives from each attended the launch.

The DCIF mission is to create awareness and dialogue by building relationships between the faiths which nurture harmony as well as mutual understanding and respect. .

“We work closely with State agencies which find themselves in need of expertise and help in developing an understanding of intercultural and interreligious competencies in their staff,” said Mr Cristea.

DCIF chair Hilary Abrahamson said, “Today the world witnesses deeper divisions and greater polarisation and the serious challenge of migration caused by war and global climate change, along with reckless politicians and governmental policies.”

She added, “As faith communities, we have a huge role to play in addressing these challenges.”

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he was “very pleased to see, for example, in a number of European countries these days that it is the faith leaders who are challenging governments on changes to immigration policy and rejection.”

Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said he had been told it was the first time in Europe an interfaith group had developed such a strategy. “If that’s the case I think we should be shouting that from the rooftops because it is so important that we come together like this,” he said. “We support this approach 100 per cent because it is so valuable to us, to policing and to how we integrate with communities,” he said.

Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said the launch would not have been possible “but for the charter introduced here two years ago. That was positively revolutionary because it did two things at the same time. It recognised the strong need for community cohesion and it recognised also the fact that faith lies very much at the heard of identity.”

The charter, launched at the Mansion House in December 2016, committed all Dublin’s faiths communities to live together in tolerance and peace.