Partition ‘institutionalised difference’ says Irish primate

Archbishop Eamon Martin at the service yesterday to mark the centenary of partition ( Catholic bishops)

Partition polarised people in Northern Ireland and “institutionalised difference”, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland said yesterday. Source: The Tablet.

Archbishop Eamon Martin was speaking at a service at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh to mark the centenary of partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.

In his reflection, told the congregation of 130, including British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, that partition remains “a symbol of cultural, political and religious division between our communities”.

He continued: “Looking back at what had happened ... in 1921, like many others in my community and tradition, I do so with a deep sense of loss; and also sadness.”

Archbishop Martin recalled how growing up in Derry city, he had often crossed the border to visit his granny and other relatives a few miles away in Inishowen. “At first, we did so through customs, and then, in later years, through heavily fortified checkpoints. It was as if my home city had been cut off in 1921 from its natural hinterland in beautiful Donegal.”

In his reflection, the Primate of All Ireland said Church leaders could have done more to deepen their understanding of each other and to bring healing and peace to their divided and wounded communities.

The Irish head of state, President Michael Higgins, declined an invitation to attend the service. He said that what had started out as an invitation to a religious event had turned into a political statement.

Queen Elizabeth had been due to attend the service but withdrew on Wednesday on medical advice.


Partition 'institutionalised difference' says Archbishop (By Sarah MacDonald, The Tablet

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