“In a rapidly changing Ireland, we all have to work together to respect everyone”, Irish bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has said.
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Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy was speaking Sunday at a Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians church in Milford for the centenary of Salesians in Ireland.
The bishop said respect for all “means a complete avoidance of the use of offence language”.
“It means building of relationships at local level so that everyone can feel welcome wherever we gather.
“Racism, intolerance and sectarianism should have no place in Ireland today”, Leahy insisted.
The bishop’s remarks came just days after a member of the Irish Parliament made disparaging comments about African migrants.
Galway deputy Noel Grealish voiced his concerns over rumours that a migrant reception centre would be set up in an unused hotel in the town.
“These are economic migrants”, Grealish complained.
“These are people that are coming over here from Africa to sponge off the system here”.
For the record
Without mentioning Grealish by name, Bishop Leahy said “we’ve always to remember that some of those who come to Ireland have escaped from very dangerous situations, including religious persecution”.
“On top of the trauma of losing their homes, their jobs and often their families, they now face the challenge of being strangers here, of starting again without a network, where language, the education system, customs and culture are quite different.
“How many Irish emigrants experienced that in various parts of the world?”, Leahy asked.
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Leahy recalled that at their Summer General meeting, the bishops of Ireland expressed their “concern” about the growing number of incidents of “racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance” in the country.
“Human dignity does not, however, depend on the colour of a person’s skin, their nationality, accent, or their religious affiliation”, the prelates insisted in response.
Leahy seconded that affirmation Sunday in Milford.
“Now we welcome others coming to our shores. How we speak of them is important”, the bishop said.
“To denigrate others is cheap. To build them up is noble. To be loose with our tongue is like spreading a fire. And that is never good”.
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