Justice and Peace National Secretary remembers Cardinal Winning and reiterates his concerns for asylum seekers.
Today, 17th June, marks the 3rd anniversary of the death of Cardinal Thomas Winning. Richard McCready, the National Secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland, today praised the late Cardinal s contribution to the debate on asylum and immigration.
Dr McCready was speaking at a meeting in Edinburgh tonight (7 pm 17 June 2004) organised by Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Scotland, the topic under discussion was Scottish stories for Refugee Week. Richard McCready spoke on ˜The Experience of Irish Migrants and their Descendants and the Catholic Approach to Public Policy on Asylum and Immigration. He stressed his belief that Cardinal Winning s contribution to this debate just before his death still has much to say to us on this issue in 2004.
Dr Richard McCready said, ˜I was very struck by what Cardinal Winning said just before his death in a newspaper article about asylum. The Cardinal condemned not only the violence and intimidation faced by some asylum seekers but also what he described as ˜institutionalised discrimination suffered by asylum seekers. The Cardinal also urged politicians to ˜reject the temptation to outdo each other in recommending ever more draconian methods to deal with some of the most hurt, frightened and vulnerable people in our country. Unfortunately many of Cardinal Winning s concerns are still relevant today three years after his death.
"The Catholic Church in Scotland has been at the forefront of campaigns to give a warmer welcome to immigrants and asylum seekers in Scotland in the twenty-first century. In the Scottish context I praise the late Cardinal Winning and the President of the Justice and Peace Commission, Bishop John Mone for being strong voices in favour of better treatment of migrants."
Dr McCready concluded;
"The Cardinal was someone who was very aware of his role as a Scot of Irish descent and as a Christian. In Refugee Week I would urge everyone in Scotland to consider whether we are doing all we can to make strangers welcome in our midst. I would argue that Scotland has a good record of welcoming incomers and I think that the treatment of asylum seekers in Scotland and especially the continuing existence of the Dungavel detention centre demonstrate that we are not being welcoming enough.
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Notes to editors
1. Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Scotland organised tonight s meeting, which takes place at 7 pm in St George s West Church, Edinburgh. Other speakers will discuss Muslim and Jewish migrants stories and the experience of a contemporary asylum seeker.
2. Richard McCready - 07711 920760