The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has called for the reintroduction of a “temperance movement” in Irish society in an attempt to deal with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as increasing gang violence.
“We see how addictions like this can devastate family life and social life. There is no future in a life of crime associated with drugs,” Archbishop Eamon Martin told the Irish Independent on Sunday.
Archbishop Martin, the Primate of All-Ireland, was speaking in Drogheda, a town 30 miles north of Dublin, where approximately 80 violent incidents have taken place in recent months, including a gasoline bomb attack on a house and arson attacks. Such attacks are believed to be the result of feuds between rival gangs.
The temperance movement is a social movement against the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
Archbishop Martin said he had discussed the issues of drugs and violence with priests and community leaders in Drogheda, noting that many are “quietly working on the ground” to encourage peace.
“This is a beautiful city, a city of great history here in Ireland. It would be terrible to see a wonderful city like this and a tremendous community torn apart by the kind of criminality and violence that surrounds drugs,” he said.
Archbishop Martin noted how drink and drugs contribute to the disturbing rise in domestic violence. A government report in March 2019 showed that domestic violence in Northern Ireland is at its highest level since records began.
Several arson attacks on Catholic churches have also taken place in Northern Ireland in recent months, as well as anti-Catholic graffiti being sprayed upon a Catholic church in Kilrea on 6 July.
Picture: Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, leaves after attending Pope Francis’ celebration of Mass marking the feast of St. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, June 29, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)