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Bishop's Brexit fears over visits to parishioners with hard border in Ireland

Monsignor Lawrence Duffy
Monsignor Lawrence Duffy

By Sarah MacDonald

A new Catholic bishop, whose diocese straddles the Irish border, said he is concerned that a hard Brexit will make it more difficult for clergy to visit parishioners in their homes.

Pope Frances announced at the weekend that Monsignor Lawrence Duffy, parish priest of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, will be the new Bishop of Clogher.

The diocese, which encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Co Fermanagh and parts of counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan, has a population of 88,000 Catholics across 37 parishes.

Speaking in Carrickmacross, the Bishop-elect said the possible fallout from Brexit was a worry for him and his flock.

He said that, as a priest, he visited many homes and met people "where they are at".

"You know the struggles they have, the worries they have. The decision on Brexit and how it settles down is a huge issue for people," he said.

Monsignor Duffy said "as a people living on the border" the people of the diocese had always done their best to cope with their circumstances.

"No doubt they will do the same this time - no matter what the result is," he added.

"A hard Brexit is not what people would wish for - that's for sure.

"We would certainly be happy if it was a soft Brexit...We have lived with a border for nearly 100 years.

"We have lived with tension and thank God with peace in recent years."

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