THE Bishop of Kerry has called for respect to be shown to all candidates putting themselves before the electorate for the local and European elections on Friday week.
He said every election is an opportunity to reflect on the strengths and challenges people are facing but there is a need to respect every elected politician – and every person who seeks election – as they are a vital part of democracy.
Bishop Ray Browne said the local elections deserve serious reflection and it is important to realise that not everything is the responsibility of government, whether local or national.
“So much happens at community level, at the level of good neighbours. As we think of local needs and issues, we realise the importance of the quality of community life in all the different contexts in our county,” he said.
Bishop Browne said the one outstanding issue – both locally and nationally – is to find a way to make basic housing available for all.
“Would all councillors in the county unite together to tackle this single issue during the upcoming term of office? It is an enormous and vital challenge,” he remarked.
The bishop said the challenge is to provide homes for all couples starting out in life – couples for whom it is time to set up home together, to marry and to start a family.
“Maybe a couple already have children. What hope of ever acquiring a home of their own have a couple who are struggling with unemployment or who are on the minimum wage?” he asked.
Bishop Browne said it is a human right and it is key to human happiness to settle with a life partner and, if possible, to have a family.
“Acquiring your own home is vital for this. In past decades the council house fulfilled the dream of many couples. As well as the needs of all young couples this applies to all situations where adults find themselves homeless. Could all councillors unite together on this one single issue?” he asked.
Commenting that the European election is overshadowed by Brexit, the bishop said it is a warning to all of Europe not to take democracy for granted.
“Hopefully the election will strengthen confidence in Ireland concerning the value of our being part of the EU. Every situation involves positive and negative aspects. Have we the balance right between being part of a union and at the same time being a true Republic, ruling ourselves,” he queried.
He added: “God bless all our politicians both national and local. God bless our country”
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