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World News

Ukrainian refugees could be housed in unused church buildings, say Irish archbishops

by Kelly Valencia

Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland primate Archbishop John McDowell have announced a joint effort to house Ukrainian refugees.

As part of their St Patrick’s message, both archbishops said the churches were looking to see whether empty halls and school buildings owned by the churches could be used.

“In all our parishes, we have invited our parish, pastoral councils and finance councils and the priests to consider if there are properties that we could make available for Ukrainian families," Archbishop Martin.

"And I think that in the coming days and weeks there'll be a lot of activity on the ground. I think our parishes would like to be at the forefront of this. We made contact with the department in Dublin at the bishops' conference last week to say, 'Look, what can we do to help?'

"I think this really will be an effort of the whole community here, both north and south, to open our hearts and open our doors in welcome for these refugees who have been through such horrors that we're seeing on our screens," he added.

The church leaders said war "represents the failure of politics, diplomacy and dialogue".

"Our community reflection here in Ireland on what is happening today in Europe should help us learn lessons for our own peace process, about the importance of never taking our progress in peace for granted, never giving up on dialogue and the building of bridges and mutual understanding across historical divides," they continued.

Both archbishops also made a call for an end to the conflict and asked for all Christians in Europe, including Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church, to “unite in daily spiritual and practical efforts in support of a ceasefire, humanitarian outreach and the immediate laying down of weapons”.

At least 6,600 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Ireland.

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