COI Gazette – 19th February 2016

Cork Jewish community grateful for ‘very moving’ tribute from Bishop Colton

Fred Rosehill (left) with his son and grandsons at Cork Synagogue’s closing service (Photo: Clare Keogh)

Fred Rosehill (left) with his son and grandsons at Cork Synagogue’s closing service (Photo: Clare Keogh)

A senior member of the Jewish community in Cork, Fred Rosehill, has told the Gazette that following the closure earlier this month of the Cork Synagogue, he and his fellow- Jews in the city had found comments made by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, “very moving”.

In a statement, Dr Colton had said it had been “with immense sadness and a heavy heart” that he had read the news that the last religious service was to be held in the Synagogue on the South Terrace in Cork.

He added: “On behalf of all of us in the local Church of Ireland community, I extend prayerful greetings of solidarity and friendship in faith to Mr Fred Rosehill, Chairman of the Trustees, and also to the members of the Cork Hebrew Congregation as they gather with their guests from further afield for this emotional occasion.”




After months of speculation, the 31st Dáil has been dissolved and the Republic goes to the polls on the 26th of this month. Support for the major political parties has waned and it is consequently even more difficult than usual to gain some idea of the probable composition of the next government. All that seems certain at this stage is that independent candidates will play a significant role in its formation and that they therefore will have a strong influence on subsequent policy decisions.

This prospect is worrying for some, fearing that such governments are inherently unstable. Such anxiety is unfounded, however; as was pointed out in an article by political scientist Dr Liam Weeks in The Irish Times of 8th February, they last on average just as long as those formed by a single party or a coalition of larger ones. Indeed, it is to be noted that the large majority held by the outgoing Labour/Fine Gael coalition often led to important legislation being passed with little by way of debate and a refusal to allow for a free vote on controversial issues. This may be why voters seem inclined, at this stage at least, to prefer a government which relies heavily on independents whose primary loyalty is to constituents rather than any of the political parties.

It is interesting to note that while the outgoing government has involved itself in many of the so-called ‘progressive’ issues of the day – among them abortion, same-sex marriage and other matters relating to children and the family – this involvement has done little to raise its low standing in the polls, caused by perceived mishandling in other areas. Anger over such issues as water charges, austerity measures, the banks, homelessness and the underfunding of the health services has taken its toll. Also, the outbreak of a series of brazen gangland killings in the Dublin area shortly after the election was called has shocked the nation and led to accusations of Garda under-resourcing. The message for politicians may well be that no matter how important contentious social issues may be, they pale in comparison to other subjects when it comes to getting re-elected.

It is these day-to-day issues that are likely to dominate the debates in the campaign’s closing stages; the question of repealing the Eighth Amendment (which guarantees the right to life of the unborn) and denominational schools will surely also be prominent given the strong media-led campaigns highlighting them. On these controversial issues, and others, it is important for people of faith to remember that they are in no way obliged to abandon their beliefs when it comes to a vote, despite the urging of secular commentators that they should do so. Secularists most certainly will not leave their belief systems to the side on any of these issues – and refusing to vote according to the dictates of one’s conscience out of deference to the conscience of someone else is effectively to allow one’s vote to be dictated by their beliefs instead of one’s own.


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