Orangeman first recipient of Catholic school award
An Orangeman has been presented with a new reconciliation award by a Catholic school in north Belfast.
David Scott, Education Officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, was the first to receive the Terry Donaghy/Bearnageeha Reconciliation Award on April 7 at the annual cross-community breakfast in St. Patrick’ s College, Bearnageeha, on Antrim Road.
Mr Scott has been visiting St. Patrick’s College for the past seven years, speaking to sixth formers about the Orange Order.
After receiving the award, presented to him by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mr. Scott said: “To be the first recipient of this award is an indication of the efforts the education programme is making in society.
“If we are to have a shared future then we need to understand each others’ history, culture and traditions. We need to have an appreciation that cultural difference is a good thing and should be seen as providing richness in society.
“It is a great honour for the Orange Institution to receive this award and I thank the school and the Donaghy family for their support.”
College headmaster P.J. O’Grady praised Mr. Scott’s professional and open approach with the students. He said: “There is always a lively, robust question and answer session between pupils and guest speaker.
“Engagement is positive because it is incisive, upfront, real and honest. It ranges from banners to parades — and remember that a great many of our boys come from the Crumlin Road/Ardoyne area.
“Crucially, our boys and David come away from our annual discussions in no way diminished as the fine people they are. A real sense of friendship is evident and we always issue an invitation to David to return.”
The award is named after deceased former Bearnageeha teacher Terry Donaghy, who taught at the College in the ‘60s and ‘70s and co-founded the Northern Consensus Group, a lobby group which campaigned for peace and cross community government in Northern Ireland.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Terry’s son Leo Donaghy said: “Dad always instilled in us a sense of acceptance of others, whoever they were.
“He always was one for reaching out to others and breaking new ground.
“We know he would really approve of this event, because it promotes peace and reconciliation.
“We, the family, are sure that he would have wholeheartedly approved of the choice of this morning’s recipient of this award.”