A reflection on the Hard Gospel Project

IT WAS hearing of the murder of a police officer in the early 1980s that began my commitment to the cause of reconciliation on this island. I was a curate in mid-Ulster, in the mid 1980s.

The murder did not take place locally, but the reports of it brought home the awful cost of violence and the pain it visits on families. It prompted me and a colleague to write to local papers, asking for people to commit to praying for peace.

After completing a curacy I moved to head up the parish of Crinken in Dublin diocese. During the ten years I spent there, the cause of reconciliation receded somewhat, but towards the latter part of that time I decided to rekindle it and signed up for an M.Phil in Peace Studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics. My dissertation was on the psyche of unionism and the type of leadership it needed.