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Irish bishops' move arouses discontent

A decision by the Catholic bishops to move more than 40 church agencies to their headquarters in the County Kildare town of Maynooth is leading to internal dissent and large-scale staff losses.

In the face of much opposition, the bishops are pressing ahead with the centralisation of all the bodies acting under their aegis. But in spite of protracted negotiations, the church has yet to reach agreement with staff opposed to the move.

Many of the losses are due to the reluctance of employees to commute or change house, but The Irish Times says there is also unease about the greater control the bishops may be able to exert on agencies once they are situated in Maynooth. In addition, some agencies which deal directly with underprivileged groups say they will not be able to function effectively away from the city.

The move is part of a reorganisation of church structures designed to improve co-ordination and efficiency, according to Fr Martin Clarke of the Catholic Communications Office, which was one of the first agencies to relocate.

"Saving money is not the prime motive. We want to create a greater synergy between the different agencies," he said. "Not everyone is a happy camper out of this, but it suits others very well."

Catholic Communications (Ireland)

Irish Times