So, what do you do when your parishioners vote overwhelmingly against your board and your fine self over an apparent swing to the righteous…?
If you’re Canon David Mungavin, you stick to your guns, that’s what! You stand your sacred ground, my son!
It all began with St Patrick’s National School principal Eileen Jackson resigning in July over what she claimed was the changing of Church Of Ireland ethos when it came to admissions, and it culminated in a reluctantly-allowed EGM on August 29th, where the parents delivered a resounding No Confidence in both the school’s board of management and its chairman, Canon Mungavin.
The parents also delivered a standing ovation for an understandably emotional Eileen Jackson.
Having made the national papers, the accusation that the new admissions policy was being skewed heavily towards regular Church Of Ireland attendees have been vehemently refuted by Mungavin. That 22 of the 24 children admitted to St Patrick’s National School this year are indeed regular Church Of Ireland attendees would seem to suggest otherwise though. If only there had been another classroom to squeeze children of other faiths into the school…
With bigger boy Archbishop Michael Jackson clearly singing from the same hymn sheet as Canon Mungavin, it’s been all quiet on the admissions front ever since. Which suggests it’s going to be business as usual, and the disgruntled flock can go to feck. Or Enniskerry.
The stories we’ve been hearing of rejections, resignations and intimidation at the St Patrick’s Church aren’t fit for a family paper.
Feeling compelled to try and save his beloved church from further discourse and media embarrassment, former Archdeacon of St Patrick’s, Edgar Swann, took the brave step of writing directly to Archbishop Jackson this week. His letter – printed below – would appear to have sadly fallen on stony ground…
The Archbishop of Dublin The See House Milltown County Dublin
1st September 2018
I have thought long and hard about writing to you regarding the situation in St. Patrick’s School, Greystones.
I have no wish to interfere in the internal matters of my old Parish and School, but I find I can be silent no longer.
Eileen Jackson has not only been Principal, but a long standing friend whose professionalism and educational expertise is known throughout the Church of Ireland and beyond.
Following a recent meeting, the parents are in uproar, some 95% giving her a vote of confidence at the EGM and some 80%-85% voting no confidence in the Chairperson of the Board.
Local press and social media are on the side of the Principal and the School and the Church of Ireland Community is being torn apart by critics.
The school is suffering and the parents are up in arms and have formed a sub committee of very knowledgeable people who are determined now to pursue this to the end.
The Chairperson and the Board have basically refused to negotiate with them and they have now got the support of Simon Harris among others.
This is serious. I know the people of Greystones and they will not be treated as fools. It will be followed to the end.
When I was Archdeacon under Dr. Caird we had a serious matter to deal with in Dunlavin. The Archbishop dissolved the Board and I was appointed in its place.
The matter was eventually dealt with only by a new Board being appointed which had the respect and support of the school community.
I would respectfully suggest that the only way forward here is the dissolution of the Board, a time for healing and a completely new beginning, if this does not come from the Patron, it may well be precipitated by the Minister.
This matter is damaging the school which has lost excellent teachers and it is causing a serious crisis in the parish.
There is a serious feeling among the parent body that no one in authority will engage with them.
There is frustration and anger and it is mounting by the day.
You can of course ignore this letter, but it is breaking my heart to see what is happening and it will not bode well for the school or parish and it brings the Church of Ireland into public ridicule.
With best wishes…
Perhaps Jackson should consider changing the name of his home to The See Hear House? He and Mungavin may claim that nothing has changed, but, if they were to stop and truly look at their flock in Greystones, they’ll see that, for many here, everything has changed…
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