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Saturday 19 October 2019

'Reignite temperance movement to battle drink, drugs' - bishop

Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop Eamon Martin

Sarah MacDonald

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said it is time for Irish society to "reignite a temperance movement" to address the "terrible impact" of alcohol and drugs.

Speaking to the Irish Independent in Drogheda, Co Louth, Archbishop Eamon Martin expressed concern over the fallout from drugs on the "streets of all of our major towns and villages".

"We see how addictions like this can devastate family life and social life," he said.

He warned that drink and drugs were also factors in the "terrible amounts of domestic violence" in Irish society today.

The archbishop was speaking after a Mass at St Peter's Church in Drogheda to honour the martyred Irish saint Oliver Plunkett, who was hung, drawn and quartered on July 1, 1681, in England.

His head is housed in a special shrine at St Peter's Church.

During his lifetime, St Oliver, who was Archbishop of Armagh, gave up alcohol after he became concerned about "the devastation it was causing to the priestly life of his clergy", Dr Martin explained.

On the recent spate of violent attacks in Drogheda, the archbishop said he had been speaking to local priests and community leaders who were "very concerned" about the violence and criminality and other anti-social behaviour linked to drugs.

He said priests and community leaders were "quietly working on the ground to do what they can to try and encourage people to stand up to this and to try to keep their streets peaceful".

"There is no future in a life of crime associated with drugs," he warned those involved in the drugs trade, as he appealed to them to stop "for their own good".

"They get promised all sorts of things by their leaders ... a fancy life, big cars and plenty of money", but they were really "just dealing in death", he said.

Irish Independent

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