The 158-year old church, constructed during the darkest hour of Ireland’s history, the Famine, has already been shuttered by the Archdiocese of New York, and apparently stripped of its artworks. It faces the wrecking ball as early as this month.
The Council represents hundreds of thousands of Irish Americans, members of those pillars of our community; the Emerald societies. You will find these proud men and women in the police and fire department uniform, working in government departments, at Con Edison, the telephone company and in many other positions throughout New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk and other counties.
Tom Gormley, the president of the Council, spoke for all thus: “It’s part of our history. It’s time we took a stand and defended what we believe in.”
The proposed destruction of St Brigid’s is apparently part of a wider plan by of Cardinal Edward Egan to sell hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of community assets. It is part of a restructure of the archdiocese he believes is necessary.
This raises as many questions as it answers; about what efforts are being made to keep the assets under community control, what criteria are in place to ensure the best price is achieved; and whether the cash is ring-fenced for other infrastructure or in fact represents a blank check for the Cardinal.
Without satisfactory answers, Irish Americans will be very cautious about the money they donate to the Church.