Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has expressed solidarity with the Traveller community over the way some of their children were treated in education, social care and especially in industrial schools.
At a farewell thanksgiving Mass for the ministry of Fr Derek Farrell
of the Parish of the Travelling People, the Archbishop referred to an
RTE documentary broadcast on Wednesday evening which highlighted the
“Why were your young boys and girls treated in such a way? What does
that say about our attitude and respect for Travellers?” the Archbishop
If every element and species within God’s creation deserves
protection, so also does the cultural heritage of any people and their
own special identity, he said on Thursday evening at St Peter’s church
He added, “Traveller identity must be shielded, protected
and fostered. It must be assigned legal protection in a manner which prizes an identity which is irreplaceable.”
In his homily on the Feast of the Archangels, Archbishop Martin said
that angels remind us that God cares; that even if the Church
has neglected the Travelling community, God has not.
“The travelling community has a real sensitivity to the fact that God
offers his blessing to all, especially to those who are
most vulnerable,” he said.
Describing the Parish of the Travelling Community as unique, the
Archbishop also paid tribute to Cardinal Desmond Connell for his
foresight in establishing the parish which responds to the needs of
Noting that the parish is called the Parish of the Traveling People
and not for the Travelling people, Archbishop Martin said it was an act
of trust and confidence in the community to take the leading role in
forms of pastoral care and religious development which responds to
the culture, traditions and identity of Travellers.
In his tribute to Fr Derek Farrell, he said the priest was “a true
friend of the Travelling People” who did not seek any great publicity
for himself but placed his talents fully at the service of
the Travellers and their place in society.