January 7, 2021
Minister Heather Humphreys has today welcomed the decision by An Post to formally recognise the 150th Anniversary of the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland.
Minister Humphreys made the remarks after An Post launched a €1 stamp marking the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland on 1stJanuary 1871.
Minister Humphreys said: “I really welcome this initiative by An Post, which I have supported over recent years. The Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland some 150 years ago was an extremely significant event.
“In practical terms, it meant that the Church’s links with the then British State were severed. The Church lost its income from the Exchequer and its status and survival became entirely its own responsibility.
“Church appointments also became a matter to be decided on by the membership of the Church alone.
“At that time, there was great trepidation as to how, or whether, the Church of Ireland itself would survive given that it was stripped of such critical supports and legal standing.”
Minister Humphreys continued: “As we enter2021, it is timely to reflect on the fact that the ‘Irish Church’ has not only survived but it has done remarkably well in the intervening period.
“Much is rightly made of the sharp fall in the number of members of the Church of Ireland over the period leading into and following independence, as well as the impact of the Ne Temere ruling.
“However, less well known is its enduring resilience and the remarkable roles played by members of the Church of Ireland in leadership, public service roles and wider roles since Independence.
“Presidents of Ireland, Government ministers, a Chief Justice, as well as leading figures in health, education and public administration have been drawn from among members of the Church of Ireland.
“This, combined with the contributions made in wider Irish society across business, commerce, media and wider sectors.
“I would like to thank and recognise the efforts of all involved and in particular the efforts of Archbishop Jackson in ensuring this landmark event is recognised,” Minister Humphreys concluded.