BISHOPS CONFER IN IRELAND
The successful conclusion of the siege at Monasterevin played its part in the by-election victory in Mayo-West of Mr Enda Kenny, the 24-year-old Fine Gael candidate, He won the Dail scat held by his late father, Mr Henry Kenny, by more than 3,000 votes, a_3.,5 per cent swing in favour of Fine Gael.
The West of Ireland was once almost totally Fianna Fail country, but because of its neglect of the area the influence of that party has heen rapidly crumbling. The constant presence of Mr Torn O'Donnell (FG) since he became Minister for the Gaelteacht — the Irish-speaking areas — 2f years ago has changed many peoples' voting patterns.
The Taoiseach Mr Cosgrave saw the victory as a vote of confidence in the policies and performance of the Coalition. and described it as "particularly significant, coming at this time. more than halfway through the maximum lifespan of the present Dail."
The Coalition is now back to its comfortable overall majority of four.
-LAST SUNDAY. the Bishops' Conference in Ireland held its annual collection. This money provides finance for new projects and developments within the church.
One of the recipients is the Catholic Communications institute. The institute. under its director, Fr Joe Dunne, is the overall body which controls and finances the Communications Centre, Veritas Publications and the Intercom and Interlink bulletins for nuns and priests.
Newest development at the institute has been the setting up of an audio visual production unit, This was initiated last September after a gestation period of two years. It was madepossible only by the freeing of the siudios due to Radio Telefis Eireann ceasing to take "Network", a weekly religious programme of current topics and problems. which was produced by the centre.
The production unit, an independent grouping within the institute, is ram devoted to high quality tape production in cassette form. One full tape, running for 45 minutes, is produced each week.
Fr Brian Darcy. handed over the
editorship of the Passionist magazine "The Cross" to Fr Columb O'Donnell fast August_ For
five years he had steadily built up • the reputation of "The Cross" until it had become Ireland's leading religious magazine.
Top,icality was what the Institute s director wanted, he also wanted the link that Fr Darcy (also dubbed the Pop Priest) had established with young people. In September the ex-editor of "The Cross" moved to the Communications Centre as Production Editor.
He works in harness with Head of Production David Owens, a Dubliner who after University and a television diploma from the Communications Centre, worked for four years in Educational television in Zambia. In Canada he took a master's degree in educational technology.
The tapes are intended to assist teachers in religious education and are sold through the Veritas bookshop in Dublin's Abbey Street.
The first one produced was a Souvenir tape of St Oliver Plunkett, which looks at the life of St Oliver, with comments by Cardinal Conway. Mgr Thomas 0 Hach and Fr Tom Stack.
The second tape was an interview by Liam Nolan of Fr Daniel Berrigan, SJ, This was intended for priests, but a lot of teachers have requested it for schools because it gives a fresh image of the priesthood, and proves that a priest can work within a political context and still remain a priest.
It also proves that a priest's contribution in Christian terms is valuable in today's society, and that he is able to make this contribution within the church, Fr Darcy felt that this was a great consolation to those priests who find themselves almost crushed when trying to deal with unpopular (from the hierarchy's point of view) problems.
"1 believe in Music," the third tape is of pop songs which are used to illustrate religious instruction. Using these songs, dialogue comes from the children to the teacher, instead of the other way around. Fr Darcy's contention is that Leo Sayer, singing "Bedsitter Land" and "Streets in your Town," is saying the same thing as Christ is say ing.
As well as tapes for young people, subjects such as Alcoholism and Pre-Marriage Counselling are discussed and information and help given.
Producing tapes Er Darcy secs as "not necessarily priestly work" but he says "it could also be looked on as a new form of preaching."