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Long-serving St Columb's Dean to take post in Dublin

By Donna Deeney

Published 11/05/2016

The Dean of Derry, the Very Rev William Morton
The Dean of Derry, the Very Rev William Morton

One of Londonderry's most respected clergymen is leaving the city to take up a post as the next Dean and Ordinary of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

Rev William Morton, who has been Dean of St Columb's Cathedral for the past 18 years, was instrumental in brokering the agreement that resulted in peaceful parading in the city over the past number of years.

He expects to take up his new role in September and although he is eager to face new challenges, he admits it will be with a heavy heart that he says goodbye to Derry.

He said: "We moved here 18 years ago and since then we have formed deep and lasting friendships with people from all political shades and none.

"In fact, if it wasn't for the entire community of the city, there is every chance the cathedral would not exist because in the '90s an architect was presenting a restoration talk in the cathedral and he showed a projected skyline of Derry in the future and missing from the skyline was the spire of St Columb's Cathedral.

"This was reported in the Press at the time and the reaction from every political background was instant and as a result the cathedral was among five projects adopted by the council.

"My son Conor was born a year after we came to the city - the first baby born in the Deanery in 125 years - so there is no denying I will be sad to leave the city, but it's not the end of the earth I am going to."

St Patrick's Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland and the dean is elected from among the members of the Cathedral Chapter by the members of the Chapter.

The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, described Dean Morton's appointment as "a fitting recognition of his highly effective work as Dean of Derry".

He added: "William's ministry in St Columb's Cathedral, in the city of Londonderry, in the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe, and in the wider church and community, has been selflessly exercised and greatly appreciated."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also sent his own congratulations to Dean Morton.

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