Wednesday 16 October 2019

Bishops offers to mediate between factions to bring an end to Drogheda feud

Keith Brannigan (inset) was killed in full view of families
Keith Brannigan (inset) was killed in full view of families

Sarah Mac Donald

Bishop Michael Router of the Archdiocese of Armagh has reiterated his plea for an end to the gang violence in Drogheda and has offered to mediate between the different factions if it helps halt the feud.

In his homily for the Church’s ‘Day for Life’ at St Peter’s Church in Drogheda, Dr Router said everyone has an obligation to help tackle the drugs problem which is at the heart of so much of the criminal activity and contempt for life.

The bishop said he and any priest in the area would be willing to mediate between the different factions involved in the gang warfare and he urged them to stand back and consider the futility of their actions.

On September 1 Bishop Router also appealed for an end to the violence following the brutal murder of Keith Branigan on 27 August.

In his sermon in Carlingford, and Dillonstown that day he said seeking revenge for that terrible murder risked the lives of others.

“It was very fortunate that innocent bystanders were not injured or even killed in Clogherhead such was the disregard for life that was shown,” he said of the killing of Brannigan at the caravan park in the Co Louth seaside village.

This weekend, Bishop Router warned that the threats to the value and sacredness of human life through domestic abuse, abortion and drug related violence “are symptoms of a society that is losing its moral compass and which places little value on anything other than the individual’s right to choose in all matters even if those choices bring destruction on themselves or others”.

On the issue of domestic abuse, Dr Router said it remains a very serious problem and is a hidden form of toxic behaviour in some families.

He noted that Ireland in recent years has seen “a number of terrible cases of domestic abuse” leading to extreme violence and murder.

“Such awful events remind us of what can happen if subtle abuse and manipulation of a spouse is allowed to fester and grow into something sinister and threatening,” he warned.

The latest figures outlined in the bishops’ pastoral letter, ‘The Scourge of Domestic Abuse’, indicate that one-in-four women and about one-in-six men suffer from domestic abuse during their lifetime. 

According to a 2018 report by Women’s Aid, almost nine out of every ten women murdered in Ireland were killed by a man known to them.

On the introduction of a more liberal abortion regime in the North under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, the bishop said the move was undemocratic as the citizens of the North have not been given any say in the development of what he termed a “creeping policy”.

Catholics in the North are being urged by the bishops to contact their politicians to express their dismay at the deregulation of abortion.

South of the border, Bishop Router urged catholics to contact political parties with an all island presence and request them to do all that they can to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive so that the proposed abortion legislation can “be stopped in its tracks”.

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