On 16 January, Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe and Church of Ireland Bishop Michael Burrows of Killaloe, Limerick and Tuam published a joint statement on the ongoing protests of Roscrea. The bishops said, “the week of prayer for Christian Unity begins on 18 January. The theme chosen for this year is drawn from the parable of the Good Samaritan, with the emphasis on the instruction ‘Go and do Likewise’!
“Over the past number of days and weeks it has been disturbing and sad to see some of the strong protests against the arrival of people seeking emergency accommodation in Roscrea, which is in the diocese of Killaloe and also other venues and locations of the country.
“The situation in Roscrea and in other places have many local complexities, with some genuine concerns both regarding resources for the new residents and for the amenities and services in the areas in question. However, we would appeal for calm, for a peaceful approach to the issues involved. Many have expressed concerns at the long-term effect the protests and unrest might have on the young children and families now resident in the facility.
“Our joint appeal is for us all to keep on mind the bigger picture and the emergency situation that presents itself. Many of the people coming to our shores are coming from very distressful situations and are in dire need of refuge and shelter. They deserve whatever level of help can possibly be offered and provided, even if it involves some sacrifice or inconvenience, going the extra mile, so to speak.
“Many of our ancestors were at one time economic migrants, and our children today continue to travel to gain work and life experience. We Irish, more than most, know what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign land.”
The bishops concluded by saying, “during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we pray that all who follow the way of Jesus Christ would pray for peace and an end to war and conflict in the many troubled spots of the world.”