Archbishop calls for solidarity with refugees and rebuttal of misinformation

Dermot Farrell says Catholics must ‘recognise our common humanity with the refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in our midst’

Asylum seekers and refugees “are not to be targeted or penalised, abused or frightened,” Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell has said.

“As followers of Christ, we are called to speak up for their rights and dignity. We are called to speak up when individuals are targeted, victimised or stigmatised, or used as pawns in disputes which are really about politics and resources.”

“We are called to speak up for the truth about migration and population change, not to deny that it is a serious challenge, but to rebut the misinformation that is spread to stir up suspicion and hatred,” he said.

He said Catholics are called to “recognise our common humanity with the refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in our midst. They are entitled to make their case within the framework that society has created to regulate admission to the country”.


In a sermon at St Patrick’s Church, Corduff, Blanchardstown in west Dublin, he also called for “solidarity with those who are asked to accept into their community those who need shelter. It is right that the practical consequences for communities be recognised and addressed.”

Parishes were “to the fore in this regard,” he said, “but it is also a matter for the public authorities: we are all called to play our part, so society as a whole must give practical support to host communities in proportion to the scale of the responsibility they are asked to assume.”

Over “the last two years, this country and others have welcomed, vast numbers of people fleeing the cynical war in Ukraine, and other conflicts in so many troubled regions of the world. We are faced with responding to those who have come to seek sanctuary or build a new life among us.”

It was “a challenge which arises in the context of long-standing shortcomings in the provision of housing and other services for a growing population.”

Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan has said that “the diversity in our Catholic schools in terms of ability, nationality, socio-economic background, ethnicity and faith is significant and that is as it should be. When these five criteria are taken into consideration, I would challenge anyone to tell me that Catholic schools are not as inclusive as any other type of school. They must be to be true to their ethos!”

Bishop Deenihan, chair of the Bishops Council for Education, said on Monday at a Mass to launch Catholic Schools Week in The Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar that “the Catholic school must embody respect”.

The “issue of respect and respect for others is a key one for our time and has come to the fore in Irish society in recent weeks, particularly in relation to those from other countries and those from our own country seeking accommodation”.

Respect for others “must be a key characteristic of any Catholic school”, he said.

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Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times