On 28 September last, Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora reflected on recent events in Oughterard, Co Galway. Bishop Brendan Kelly delivered his comments during the Vigil Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Oughterard.

Bishop Kelly stated that the direct provision model is “not fit for purpose”, criticising the lack of transparency in the management and quality of the operation of centres. “However this does not justify the use of inflammatory language towards refugees and migrants. Such language must always be condemned”, he said.

The Bishop of Galway was critical of the State’s handling of migrants and refugees. He said, “There has been a lack of consultation, ineffective communication and information-sharing, and an absence of required social infrastructure and resources in health and education. The Department of Justice needs to take a cultural leap of faith and begin trusting communities at the earliest opportunity regarding this sensitive issue.”

In conclusion, Bishop Kelly said, “Migrants and refugees have already suffered as targets in the country of origin and are often met with hostility at their journey’s end. This is not new: the Holy Family were refugees in Egypt, and Christ himself was an outsider all of His life. In our own families Irish emigrants were often met with prejudice and violence in their host country. We must not readily expunge our own cultural memories and personal experiences.

“Today I call for an end to the current system of direct provision which strips people of their independence, their cultural identity, and their dignity and has lasting traumatic impact on residents. I am also strongly urging the faithful to open the doors of their hearts, homes, parishes and communities and to welcome the stranger as Jesus would have done.”

The celebration was a Month’s Mind Mass for the repose of the soul of Canon Joseph Keogh RIP.

See full homily here.

ENDS