19/09/05 Crosscare Appeal Launch

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CROSSCARE PRESS CONFERENCE


Speaking Notes of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland
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Food Centre, Portland Row, 19th September 2005

Crosscare, the social agency of the Dublin diocese, has been serving the poor and working to prevent poverty for over 60 years now.  There have been many changes and yet there are certain aspects of poverty in Dublin that have remained constant over the years.


Crosscare must look to the future.  I would love to see Crosscare develop a sort of special antenna capable of locating and pinpointing in advance new forms of poverty or new circumstances which will make life harsher for those who live on the narrow brink of precariousness which is typical of so many lives in our modern society.


Increases in fuel prices affect us all, but their effect on those on low income – especially those who live on social welfare benefits and the elderly – can be dramatic.


Ireland will have a higher proportion of the elderly in its population in the years to come.  That is in itself a “good news” story.  It means that our people are living longer because they have been able to enjoy healthier lives.  It is great that people can live to see even their grandchildren grow and prosper and to see them achieve much more in their lives than their grandparents were able to do themselves.  We owe a huge debt to our elderly.
But the happiness and wellbeing of elderly people will depend in the future very much on the quality of community life.   It would be a tragedy if our elderly who gave so much to bringing our country to its current stage of prosperity and high quality of life were to be the ones to suffer disproportionately at the first signs of economic challenge.


I hope that Crosscare will commit itself to ensuring the best services possible for the elderly in their communities so that they can be full and contented participants in our society to the highest level possible and for as long as possible.


The situation in our hospitals, for example, shows us that very often there is no place for the elderly to go when they could easily be released from hospital.  We need a new range of community service to ensure that it is possible for the elderly, if they so wish, to remain in their homes or in sheltered accommodation, with their own autonomy and freedom.  We must ensure that community services are there to see that the elderly have access to nutritious food, warmth and medical care.


I would hope that Crosscare would be able to reach out to new areas within the diocese.  Up to now most of its work has been focussed on the greater Dublin city area.  I hope that its work with teen-counselling and drug awareness education can be expanded into some of the other larger towns in County Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare which are within the diocese and which are facing many of the same problems and challenges as Dublin.  


It is important to remember that Crosscare name refers to the Cross of Jesus Christ.  Crosscare is an agency which reaches out to those who are suffering and bearing one or other of the crosses which are typical of our modern time even though often hidden.  Crosscare is an agency which reflects the power of Jesus Christ who gave himself on the Cross totally out of love for us, so that we can rise above our own closed individualism and self-centredness and become, as individuals and as Church, a sign of the care and love of God which is beyond our understanding.


Crosscare workers – and we need more, especially young persons – encounter something of the joy and human warmth that their work brings into the life of the marginalised.  Every contribution made to Crosscare contributes to changing someone’s life, to overcoming anxiety and stress, to bringing back new happiness and purpose, as well as that physical and personal warmth which is so much needed this winter.


I am grateful to all the Crosscare family and to all who over the years have contributed to making the social care agency of the Dublin diocese one which we can be so proud.



 


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