Pro Cathedral’s planned loss of status a ‘slap in the face’ for north inner city

St Andrew’s Church on Westland Row would become the capital’s cathedral under a diocesan plan

The redesignation of the Catholic Pro Cathedral to Dublin’s southside is a “slap in the face” to the residents of the north inner city and suburbs “who have attended the Pro Cathedral for so many years”.

The Pro Cathedral, which has been in existence for almost 200 years north of the river Liffey in St Mary’s on Marlborough Street, may be about to lose its current status and become a basilica, while St Andrew’s Church on Westland Row, south of the Liffey, would become the capital’s cathedral under a current diocesan plan.

Plans on the relocation are due to be presented to Rome by the end of the year to see if the move is given the go-ahead by Vatican authorities.

The “Pro” has always meant the temporary nature of the cathedral at St Mary’s Church dependent upon the building of a new one.


Former lord mayor of Dublin and Independent councillor Christy Burke for the north inner city, where the Pro Cathedral is situated, said he is “shocked” to hear of “such a plan and move”.

Cllr Burke believes it would be a “slap in the face” to the residents of the north inner city and suburbs “who have attended the Pro Cathedral for so many years”.

“What is the point behind all of this upheaval and why change something and a tradition that doesn’t need to be changed. The church will lose support in the inner city if this move takes place.”

In a recent statement the Catholic archdiocese pointed out that “Dublin does not have a cathedral.”

St Mary’s has provided a focal point for the archdiocese “but it was always envisaged that, at some point, a cathedral building would be required that had both the space and the facilities to accommodate the full range of diocesan liturgical and pastoral ministry.

“For a variety of reasons, that never happened but the limitations of the St Mary’s building and complex remain,” the statement added.

The statement also points out that St Mary’s was in an area “undergoing renewal”, while St Andrew’s Church is viewed as being “well placed to engage with the vibrant residential, commercial and cultural heart of the city”.

The archdiocese has consulted with the Council of Priests, an advisory body to Archbishop Dermot Farrell.

Archbishop Farrell believes the capital should have a “properly designated cathedral and that it should be complemented by a church on the other side of the Liffey whose status and dignity are formally recognised and supported.

“For logistical reasons, there are strong grounds for considering that St Andrew’s might better serve the cathedral function, with St Mary’s raised to the dignity of a basilica,” the statement continued.

Archbishop Farrell is setting up a project group with representatives of both St Mary’s and St Andrew’s parishes to develop proposals, supported by expert and technical advice.

However, Cllr Burke added that the archdiocese will have a “fight on its hands” with him, other public representatives, the public and Catholics.

“I will support the stopping of these plans by protests and ensuring a petition is sent to Rome in a bid to block such an absurd move. It’s adding fuel to the fire or a northside versus southside divide yet again”.