Bishop fears old sectarian divisions will be stirred by centenaries
A bishop has told how the Church of Ireland community is fearful of the upcoming centenaries of the War of Independence and Civil War amid concerns they could reopen old sectarian divisions.
The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, admitted that many in the church community in Cork "anticipate the coming centenary commemorations of the War of Independence and the Civil War fearfully and with a certain dread".
Many fear that the ceremonies will reopen old sectarian wounds - particularly given that the descendants of many of those involved in the events of 1919-22 are still living in the same general area.
To underline the seriousness with which the church community takes the centenaries, Dr Colton delivered his warning in a special sermon in Dunmanway in west Cork - an area which became notorious for a massacre of Protestants at the height of the Civil War.
Seventeen Protestants, ranging in age from 16 to 82, were killed by the IRA across west Cork in retaliation for the killing of IRA comm-ander Michael O'Neill outside Dunmanway in April 1922.
Dr Colton, in a sermon at St Mary's Church, urged everyone to handle the upcoming ceremonies "extremely sensitively".
"Among some in our Church of Ireland community the commemorations are anticipated fearfully and with a certain dread," Dr Colton said.