Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory has said that the Good Friday Agreement allows a generation to never witness the horrors of violence but instead to reap the benefits of peace. He was speaking at this year’s State Commemoration Ceremonies in Arbour Hill on Wednesday 8 May.

In his homily Bishop Farrell referred to the heroes of 1916 and those who helped build the Irish State, saying, “The seeds of democracy – freedom, vision, ideals and hope – sown at a foundational moment in the history of the Irish State had – and still have – momentous political consequences whose implications resonate to this day.”

He urged caution on how Easter Week 1916 is remembered and said, “Rather than bending the events of Easter Week 1916 in an attempt to claim legitimacy for a merciless campaign of indiscriminate acts of violence and murder, another logic is required.”

Bishop Farrell continued, “The great challenge, now as it was then, is to create a society which will enable all of its citizens to flourish in equality in a country with an identifiably distinctive voice in Europe and in the world, an Irish republic, a sovereign independent state to use the words of the Proclamation.”

Reflection on the role of our Christian faith today, Bishop Farrell said, “Our Christian faith calls us to engage with the present, and with the present as it is. But it also asks us to view the world in a different optic – one of service, support, sacrifice – where people are seen as gift rather than entities to be profited from.”

On the global front he said that we ‘civilised women and men across the world allow a quarter of humanity go to bed hungry each night, and, in Ireland, leave more than 10,000 homeless.

He added that the refugees and migrants who come to Ireland are looking for nothing less than the vision of society outlined in the Proclamation – “a place of justice, peace and safety for all.”

He concluded by asking those present to pray for the generosity to cherish all, and the courage to act out of love toward both friends and strangers.

You can read the homily in full on www.catholicbishops.ie.

ENDS