Two of Ireland’s largest religious organisations to amalgamate

Irish Missionary Union and the Conference of Religious of Ireland join to form Amri

Talks about amalgamation had been going on for about three years but had been speeded up in the last 12 months. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Talks about amalgamation had been going on for about three years but had been speeded up in the last 12 months. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

 

Two of the largest entities in Irish Catholicism will join forces later this week to become the Association of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (Amri).

It involves the amalgamation of the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) and the Conference of Religious of Ireland(Cori). It will be based at Cyress Grove, in Dublin’s Templeogue.

Fr Hugh MacMahon of the IMU told The Irish Times that talks about amalgamation had been going on for about three years but had been speeded up in the last 12 months.

Legally, civil and canonical issues may take up to six more months to resolve, he said, but Amri will be set up from next Friday and begin operations on Tuesday, June 14th, he said.

“A new general secretary will be appointed” Fr MacMahon said, but a temporary appointment to that position was expected to be made at a meeting on Tuesday, June 7th.

“Up to 80 per cent of IMU members are already in Cori,” he said, and that amalgamation made sense for other practical reasons such as “personnel, resources and finances.”

It was “also an opportunity to set up a fresh organisation more adapted to the Irish situation and the changes in Ireland today,” he said.

Cori was set up in 1983 as the Conference of Major Religious Superiors (CMRS) through the amalgamation of the two separate conferences of men and women religious which had existed up to then.

It changed its name to the Conference of Religious of Ireland in the 1990s. It has been suggested this was in response to a comment in the Dáil made in March 1990 by then Taoiseach Charles Haughey who, dismissing a CMRS report on poverty, said he was “always a bit doubtful about any organisation that has ‘major’ and ‘superior’ in its title.”

To-day Cori has a membership of 136 religious congregations which represent over 9,000 men and women religious in Ireland and abroad.

The IMU was set up in 1970. Currently it has 1,500 members. Both organisations have an ageing membership, with the average age in the early 70s.