By Cian Molloy - 04 September, 2017
A delegation representing the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference met with government ministers last week at the invitation of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The agenda covered in the course of the two-hour bilateral meeting included: the World Meeting of Families 2018 and the possible visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, education issues, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, Northern Ireland, development aid and several issues of justice and peace.
This was the first such meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin to take place under the structured Church–State dialogue process where Mr Varadkar was Taoiseach.
The Church delegation was led by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, the president and vice-president respectively of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Afterwards, Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “We had a constructive discussion with the Taoiseach and his ministers and we focused on issues which are fundamental to sustaining the common good of Irish life. I believe that regular Church–State dialogue is in the interest of everyone and reflects a truly pluralist society.”
In addition to the two archbishops, the delegation representing the Irish bishops and other church officials comprised: Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel & Emly, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh & Clonmacnois, the deputy director of Trócaire Finola Finnan, the executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference Monsignor Gearóid Dullea; the executive administrator of the Bishops’ Commissions and Agencies Harry Casey, the national director for catechetics Kate Liffey and the director of the Catholic Communications Office Martin Long.
The government delegation, headed by An Taoiseach, also included: the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald TD; the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD; the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD; the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD; and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD.