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Cardinal 'insulted' former Irish President McAleese over her Vatican conference bar

By Sarah MacDonald

A leading cleric has been criticised for "insulting" former President Mary McAleese by attempting to block her from speaking at a conference in the Vatican.

Irish Children's Minister Katherine Zappone was among those to criticise Church officials yesterday after Dublin-born Cardinal Kevin Farrell withheld his approval for Dr McAleese to speak as part of a major conference on women's rights in the Vatican.

Dr McAleese has now written to Pope Francis over Cardinal Farrell's attempt to bar her from the 'Voice of Faith' conference.

In a statement yesterday, she said she would not make any further comment on the matter, as she was waiting to see if the Pope would respond to her letter.

Former Tanaiste Joan Burton criticised Cardinal Farrell for withholding his approval for Dr McAleese and two other speakers to address the '2018 Voices of Faith' conference.

"It is an incredible insult to a former President of Ireland who is internationally acknowledged as a champion of women and of LGBT people," Ms Burton told the Irish Independent.

The former Irish Labour party leader expressed anger at the "incredible insult to Ms McAleese. She was joined in her criticism of the Vatican by Ms Zappone, who warned: "Discrimination in all its forms is to be condemned."

It emerged on Thursday that Cardinal Farrell, who is overseeing the World Meeting of Families in Ireland, had objected to Dr McAleese's involvement in the conference after organisers sent him the list of proposed speakers. The cardinal also objected to two other speakers.

Belfast Telegraph

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