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Sunday 22 April 2018

Call time on always celebrating with drink in hand - Archbishop

The Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, Michael Jackson, left, and Diarmuid Martin, at Mass in St Francis Xavier Church, Dublin. Photo: John Mc Elroy
The Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin, Michael Jackson, left, and Diarmuid Martin, at Mass in St Francis Xavier Church, Dublin. Photo: John Mc Elroy

Sarah MacDonald

ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin says Ireland must tackle its problem of always linking drink to celebrations.

He said he was particularly concerned at last week's alcoholic excesses by some of the students taking part in Galway Rag week.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after celebrating a Mass on Saturday for the Irish Jesuit Fr John Sullivan, who the Pope has set on the road to sainthood, the Archbishop of Dublin warned: "We have a problem in Ireland with alcohol.

"We have a culture of alcohol which is the wrong one. I think it is up to all of us to try and get away from that."

He said recent student antics, which included queuing from 8am for entrance to a pub during Galway Rag week, "doesn't edify anybody" and was "not good" for the health of the students themselves.

"We have to learn to celebrate without that (alcohol)," he said.

"When they talk about a celebration, it is always about drink in the end - and we have to get away from that understanding."

Dr Martin acknowledged alcohol can be used responsibly in some cases, but he said Irish society is "a long way away from that".

Ban

He called for more education of young people on how to curb the misuse of alcohol.

He also criticised the proposed new bill on alcohol, saying it needs to be extended to include a ban on the drinks industry sponsoring sporting events.

The proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 does, however, intend to legislate for cheap alcohol and set a minimum price for the sale of drink.

The Mass, in Gardiner Street, Dublin, brought together members of the Irish Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland to celebrate Pope Francis's elevation of Dublin-born Fr John Sullivan (1861-1933) as a Venerable of the church, which is two steps below sainthood.

Sullivan was the son of a Lord Chancellor of Ireland, his father was Protestant and his mother was Catholic.

One of the miracles which is likely to secure Fr Sullivan sainthood was his involvement in the cure of the nephew of Michael Collins.

Anglican Archbishop Michael Jackson, who also attended the ceremony, described Fr Sullivan as the product of his two faith traditions.

He said Fr Sullivan's importance for Irish society was his "concern for the ill".

He told the Irish Independent he "kind of marks our cards for us to have an integrated society".

Forgotten

As Ireland makes its way towards its economic recovery, he reminds us "not to forget those who are often overlooked and forgotten".

Jesuit Fr Conor Harper, who has worked on Fr Sullivan's cause for sainthood, also thanked members of the Lloyd family.

They are the nearest living relatives of Fr Sullivan and travelled from Britain to attend the Mass.

Fr Sullivan, before ordination, was once known as the "best-dressed man in Dublin".

Fr Harper also hinted that devotees might not have too long to wait before the Church beatifies him.

Irish Independent

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