Keep your ‘eyes on peace’ instead of violence, says priest

Keep your ‘eyes on peace’ instead of violence, says priest Fr Joe Gormley of Creggan

Parishioners in Derry are “totally appalled” that a dissident paramilitary group would target their estate with a car bomb, a local priest has said.

Fr Joe Gormley of Creggan told The Irish Catholic that the car bomb which exploded in his parish earlier this month has “frightened” residents, and particularly children given their lack of exposure to violence.

There are schoolchildren, “who have never grown up in that environment and can’t understand what that’s about. They can’t understand it at all – they’re really frightened by it”, Fr Gormley said.

He added that the attack, believed to have been committed by dissident republican group ‘The New IRA’, gave residents a “glimpse back in the past” to the Troubles, adding that the group have an ideology they want to “ram down people’s throats” through violent rather than political means.

However, Fr Gormley noted that paramilitary activity does not have the same level of support it once had, and that the visit of the Centennial Pilgrim of Our Lady of Fatima to St Mary’s Church on Sunday, followed by a candlelight procession of around 250 people, shows how focused parishioners are in keeping their “eyes on peace”.