A recent online poll taken by the Irish Times asked readers “Should Irish colleges continue to employ chaplains?” The poll received 2,247 responses with 65 per cent voting in favour of college chaplaincy.
According to Father Leon Ó Giolláin SJ, Head Chaplain of University College Dublin, who spoke to CatholicIreland.net, “chaplaincy has a unique and particular role” that cannot be measured adequately. “There can be a lot of casual but important meetings with students. There is quality as well as quantity; the time you spend with individuals is very important.”
Father Ó Giolláin drew reference to the broad range of services UCD chaplains are involved in, such as the suicide prevention campaign “Please Talk”, which is supported by the HSE. This is an initiative of the chaplaincy and UCD Volunteers Overseas, which sends hundreds of students abroad annually.
Father Ó Giolláin also referred to the key role played by chaplains in memorial services for the students and staff of UCD, most notably following the Berkeley tragedy in which several Irish students lost their lives.