By Cian Molloy - 07 October, 2019
Bishop Michael Router has volunteered to mediate in Drogheda’s gang feud which has seen a series of tit-for-tat shootings and claimed its first fatality on 27 August last.
Following the killing of Keith Branigan at a caravan park in Clogherhead, Bishop Router appealed at the time for an end to the violence and asked those involved to “stand back and consider the futility of their actions”.
Two other people have been seriously injured in gun attacks linked to the feud. One man has been left paralysed.
“Seeking revenge for that terrible murder risks the lives of others,” the Bishop said in the wake of the killing of Keith Branigan.
He added that it was “very fortunate that innocent bystanders were not injured or even killed in Clogherhead such was the disregard for life that was shown.”
Dr Router, who is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh, said in his homily this weekend that he was restating his appeal for an end to the violence.
“I or indeed any priest or religious in this area would be willing to mediate between the different factions if that would assist to bring the feud to a halt. All of us have an obligation to help tackle the drugs problem which in turn is at the heart of so much of the criminal activity and contempt for life that is damaging our society.”
Elsewhere in his Sunday homily, Bishop Router addressed the issue of abortion in Northern Ireland, which is likely to be legalised after 21 October under amendments made in Westminster to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.
The Bill was designed to deal with the absence of a functioning legislative assembly at Stormont.
The amendments will mean that abortion up to 28 weeks will become legal.
Dr Router warned that if the legislation comes to pass, “Northern Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world. This is not only appalling in itself but also undemocratic as the citizens of the North have not been given any say in the development of the creeping policy.”
Next weekend has been designated in Northern Ireland as a weekend of prayer for the right to life.
“All Catholics in the North are asked to contact their local politicians to express their dismay at the deregulation of abortion,” Bishop Router explained.
He told the congregation in St Peter’s in Drogheda on Sunday, “Even here in the South there is an opportunity for us to contact political parties who have an all island presence to request them to do all that they can to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive so that this legislation, which is seeking to destroy the basic human right to life, can be stopped in its tracks.”