At the invitation of An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar TD, a delegation representing senior clergy and laity from the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland held a bilateral meeting today (Monday 22nd January 2018) with ministers in Government Buildings, Dublin, under the Church-State structured dialogue process.
The delegation from the three Churches was as follows: for the Church of Ireland, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland), The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson (Archbishop of Dublin), the Revd Canon Gillian Wharton and Mr Ken Gibson (both Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod); for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, The Right Revd Dr Noble McNeely (Moderator), the Very Revd Dr Trevor Morrow (former Moderator and Convenor of the Church’s Republic of Ireland Panel) and the Revd Trevor Gribben (Clerk of Assembly and General Secretary); and for the Methodist Church in Ireland, Dr Fergus O’Ferrall (Lay Leader of the Methodist Conference), the Revd Andrew Dougherty (District Superintendent, Dublin District) and Ms Liz Parkin (Secretary, Council for Social Responsibility, Southern Executive).
After the meeting, Archbishop Richard Clarke, on behalf of the three Churches, said, ‘We welcomed the opportunity to meet the Taoiseach and his ministers today as part of the Church-State dialogue, which we were assured will be a continuing and constructive two-way conversation. Our wide-ranging discussion included many of the most important and pressing social and ethical matters relating to contemporary Irish society.’
The agenda for the meeting included: migration, direct provision and overseas aid; the impact of Brexit on Ireland and Northern Ireland; abortion and the 8th Amendment to the Constitution; homelessness, social housing and wider economic issues; and Education issues.
The delegation representing the Government included the Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar TD; Mr Richard Bruton, Minister for Education & Skills; Mr Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Justice and Equality; Ms Heather Humphries, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation; Mr Simon Harris, Minister for Health; Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport; Ms Regina Doherty, Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection; Mr Ciaran Cannon, Minister for State at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Mr Martin Fraser, Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach; Mr Brian Murphy, Chief of Staff, Department of the Taoiseach, and Ms Miriam Dollard, Protocol & General Division, Department of the Taoiseach.