Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., on Dialogue between Government and Churches
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern TD, speaking in Rome during an official visit to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the Holy See, has announced that the Government plans to open dialogue with the Churches and faith communities on arrangements for a more structured dialogue.
The Minister said: “A widely-welcomed provision of the European Constitution is the commitment that the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with churches and with philosophical and non-confessional organisations. The Government believes that such arrangements would be of value in Ireland. They would also help build on the contributions already being made by the churches and church-based organisations, including at the National Forum on Europe and though social partnership. Accordingly we will be inviting all churches and faith communities to join with us in exploring this important issue further.
I want to stress that, in Ireland as in Europe, any arrangements which might emerge would have as their objective the improvement of the quality of our dialogue with the Churches and faith communities, which form such an important part of our society. That dialogue would have to be open, inclusive and transparent, and, of course, fully in accordance with the provisions of Article 44 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, which guarantee freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion.”
The full text of Minister Ahern’s remarks is available at www.dfa.ie
13 November 2004Top