Joint Statement on Roscrea situation

Joint Statement of Bishop Fintan Monahan (Catholic) and Bishop Michael Burrows (Church of Ireland)

 The week of prayer for Christian Unity begins on Thursday.  The theme chosen for this year is drawn from the parable of the Good Samaritan, with the emphasis on the instruction “Go and do Likewise”!

Over the past number of days and weeks it has been disturbing and sad to see some of the strong protests against the arrival of people seeking emergency accommodation in Roscrea, which is in the diocese of Killaloe and also other venues and locations of the country.

The situation in Roscrea and in other places have many local complexities, with some genuine concerns both regarding resources for the new residents and for the amenities and services in the areas in question.  However, we would appeal for calm, for a peaceful approach to the issues involved.  Many have expressed concerns at the long-term effect the protests and unrest might have on the young children and families now resident in the facility.

Our joint appeal is for us all to keep on mind the bigger picture and the emergency situation that presents itself.  Many of the people coming to our shores are coming from very distressful situations and are in dire need of refuge and shelter.  They deserve whatever level of help can possibly be offered and provided, even if it involves some sacrifice or inconvenience, going the extra mile, so to speak.

One of the key issues is provision of resources and we welcome the announcement today of the government promise of extra provision for local areas in relation to health, education and policing.  It was also positive and encouraging to hear today the conciliatory approach being explored in relation to a community hotel facility.  It is our strong hope also that these developments will be accompanied with an increased level of communication and consultation of local communities involved or affected should any new projects arise.

Looking at the broader situation from a Christian perspective, coming out of the Christmas season as we are – we look back to the time when Mary and Joseph were desperately seeking shelter where there was “no room at the inn” and they were later refugees in a foreign land with the new-born infant Jesus.  They were reliant on the charity and hospitality for survival.  One of the core messages of Christianity is love of neighbour, care for the stranger and reaching out to those in need.

Many of our ancestors were at one time economic migrants, and our children today continue to travel to gain work and life experience.  We Irish, more than most, know what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign land.

We asked for people to be as open as possible to make sacrifices, despite some inconveniences that might arise in this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in during these troubled times.

The people of Roscrea have a great tradition of hospitality, welcome and friendship.   Local people there, political representatives and local authorities have done outstanding work in recent months already and I am confident that despite the great efforts already done this might be expanded to meet the challenges ahead.

As we enter this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from January 18th to January 25th we pray that all who follow the way of Jesus Christ would pray for peace and an end to war and conflict in the many troubled spots of the world.

Fintan Monahan is the Catholic Bishop of Killaloe

Michael Burrows is the Church of Ireland Bishop of Killaloe, Limerick and Tuam


16th of January 2023