Atoning for past
Sir -- I write in connection with last Sunday's article concerning the 'aggressive drive' to evangelise, or more correctly Protestantise, the starving Catholic people of Achill Island.
This was but one of several settlements established by the promoters of the 'Second Reformation' movement to convert Irish-speaking communities between Achill Island and Kerry, with an inland station at Doon, Co Limerick.
It would indeed be appropriate for the Protestant disestablished clergymen to appear in their long white surplices and black scarves reciting the Litany from the Book of Common Prayer in atonement and seeking forgiveness for the behaviour of their proselytisers led by Revd Edward Nangle and Revd Alexander Dallas, the English millenarian. What Rev Valentine Rogers was quoted as saying only seeks to blur historical truth and neutralise the tragedy of Achill's starving Catholics who were exploited by allurements of food and material advantage in return for violating their religious conscience.
As for Dr Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, surely he should reflect on what the people of his diocese suffered to preserve their Catholic faith and on the courageous witness of Archbishop MacHale?
He should not give the impression of condoning Protestant historical amnesia in what appears to be a publicity stunt.
This sends out the wrong signal to the descendants of the faithful Catholics of Connacht. Why cannot there be a forthright apology for what happened on Achill and elsewhere in the 19th Century?
Rev Dr Thomas SR O'Flynn OP
St Mary's Priory, Tallaght,