A Dublin priest has criticised remarks made by Green Party MEP Ciaran Cuffe, who said the Church should use the proceeds of a 2019 land sale to build social housing rather than the likes of pastoral initiatives.
Fr John Gilligan PP said: “Politicians need to be realistic. It’s easy to throw out these cheap shots and comments like that, but they have to see where the Church is coming from. Government has its responsibilities and their duty to carry that out.
“The Church of the future in Dublin has to look after its assets and how it can continue to provide for vocations and pastoral workers for the future.
“We know funding has been affected greatly in the last while, if the future is to be sustained and there’s no assets coming in and collections are all gone, salaries are being cut and people let go, we have to rationalise and be sensible. You always have to safeguard your future.”
Former Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the proceeds of the €95 million sale of the Church’s land at Clonliffe would be used to fund vocations and the ongoing formation of lay people and priests in 2018.
In a letter to The Irish Times last week, Mr Cuffe stated: “Perhaps the Catholic Church might rethink their intention to spend the €95 million from the sale on funding vocations and the ongoing formation of lay people and priests within the Dublin diocese, and instead provide support for more housing of those most in need.”
Speaking of the charitable work of the Church, Fr Gilligan said: “The likes of Peter McVerry, Sr Stan, Bro. Kevin, all of these people, they are the voice for the poor and they’re working very hard and giving great witness.”
The land was bought from the archdiocese by the GAA. 10% of housing built will be social and 10% will be affordable on the site.