*** DEBUG END ***

‘Democracy under threat’, warns Irish Primate

16 September 2016


“Real situations”: Dr Richard Clarke

“Real situations”: Dr Richard Clarke

TOO much public discourse today is based on the appeal to identity and to emotion rather than on proper dispassionate discussion on public issues, which is an essential for a functioning democracy, the Irish Primate, Dr Richard Clarke, told a meeting of the British-Irish Association (BIA) in Oxford on Saturday.

Emphasising the need for a better quality of public discourse across society, and the need to “reject any notion that truth can be treated as disposable”, he warned of a loss of empathy as a basic and vital human quality. He suggested that the foundations of democracy were under threat today in Western Europe in a way that has previously been unthinkable since the end of the Second World War.

Dr Clarke also touched on his belief that “legacy” issues in Northern Ireland still need to be prioritised — not least because so much of the public discourse in Northern Ireland continually returns to these issues.

With regard to victims and survivors of “the Troubles”, Dr Clarke said that the term “legacy” in itself “can sound too abstract when in fact the issues relate to real, not abstract, situations”; people still needed a great deal of public support (and not always financial).

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)