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    Bishop Hegarty calls for respect for migrants

    By admin | November 13, 2006

    Dr Seamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry and Chair of the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants, has spoken of the need to respect the dignity of individual migrants in the face of globalisation. Bishop Hegarty was speaking on November 9th at the Drop-In Centre and Supported Housing Complex in Birmingham. He said the Church had a role to play in building bridges with communities and individuals living abroad. He added:

    Our history shows us that during instances of people neglect, exploitation and removal of status, it resulted in an immense fall-out in terms of human suffering and economic stagnation. And what, you may ask, is the 21st century lesson that can be learnt from this historical legacy? It is thus: If we lose sight of the individual migrant, we promote globalisation without a conscience.

    He also touched on the importance of Ireland’s emigrant heritage as it tranforms into a nation of immigrants:

    May I add that as we face the challenge of welcoming immigrants to Ireland we find ourselves reflecting on the story of Irish emigration as a touchstone for policy and initiatives. We now have a real responsibility to ensure that we provide a welcome that befits the dignity of those who migrate to Ireland. I know from talking to many Irish emigrants here in Birmingham that you support the granting of a warm welcome to those who seek a brighter future away from their homeland in Ireland.

    Bishop Hegarty presented the Centre with a financial contribution from the Bishops’ Supporting the Irish Abroad campaign. The theme of this year’s SIA campaign was keeping in touch with elderly relatives abroad.

    More information is available from the Catholic Communications Office.
    See Bishop Hegarty’s St Patrick’s Day sermon, which launched the 2006 SIA campaign.

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