Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Archbishop Dermot Farrell urges people to challenge ‘casual remarks that spread cynicism’ following Dublin riots

Archbishop Dermot Farrell urges people to challenge 'casual remarks that  spread cynicism' following Dublin riots |

The leader of the Catholic Church in Dublin has expressed his dismay and concern over the “shocking events” that unfolded on the streets of the capital on Thursday, warning it is “a moment of truth for our city and for Irish society more broadly”.

In a statement, Archbishop Dermot Farrell said people are not “helpless in the face of what we have witnessed” and he urged them not to be “passive” but to challenge “casual remarks that spread cynicism and prejudice”.

“We have seen with our own eyes how violence puts everyone - especially the vulnerable and the innocent - in mortal danger,” he said, and he prayed for the victims of the “horrific assault” on Parnell Square, for their families, for the school staff, and the children of Scoil Mhuire.

A five-year-old girl who was one of three children stabbed in the attack remains in a critical condition and the carer who sought to shield the children remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Archbishop Farrell gave thanks for the “courage and decisiveness” of those who acted so promptly with “such selflessness” to disable the attacker and for the skill of the emergency services and the Gardaí.

In a reference to Thursday evening’s rioting and looting, he said “we have seen its power to draw people in and consume them in a spiral of hatred and wanton destruction”.

Dr Farrell said this violence can “very markedly erode the ethos of peace and safety that usually characterises our lives together”.

While some “feel bewildered and anxious” by what occurred, he appealed to them not to allow themselves to be “cowed or intimidated” by those “who seek to coerce us” but to challenge the misinformation that seeks to sow doubt, suspicion, resentment and fear.

“We can challenge the casual remarks that spread cynicism and prejudice,” the church leader emphasised and he urged people to “reach out in solidarity and friendship to those who have made their homes among us, but who are being targeted with words of hate and gestures that are filled with hostility and derision”.

“Let us not forget the invaluable contribution so many make to our economy and society. Let us not take for granted the vibrant gifts of faith and witness which they bring to our parish communities,” he said.

Separately, the chair of Dublin City Interfaith Forum, Archbishop Michael Jackson, said members of the interfaith group were “shocked by the horrendous attack on our young children and adults” and the “orchestrated public disorder” which followed which was “stoked by hate and far–right rhetoric online and on our streets” and sought to “sow hatred and division in our community”.

The interfaith group appealed for a way to be found to move on from the “hate–filled rhetoric and actions” to making Dublin “a welcoming city, a city of kindness”.