The following is a Statement from the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures, sent on behalf of the Chairman, Mrs Ethne Harkness.
PROPOSALS FOR CHANGES IN PROVINCIAL AND DIOCESAN BOUNDARIES
Members of the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures have unanimously agreed to bring
proposals for changes in provincial and diocesan boundaries to General Synod. It is expected that the
proposals,summarised below, will be incorporated in a Bill to be lodged with the Honorary Secretaries
of the General Synod on or before 31st March 2016. Full details, with maps and reasons for these
conclusions, will be set out in papers to be sent to members of the General Synod in due course.
There would be eleven dioceses, six in the Armagh Province and five in Dublin Province.
The Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin have indicated their willingness to consent to the
proposed changes in provincial boundaries: the transfer of the dioceses of Tuam and Killala
(without Achonry) from the Province of Armagh to the Province of Dublin.
Tuam and Killala (but not Achonry) (7 cures) would join with the Dioceses of Limerick and
Killaloe (17 cures) to form a new diocese in the West, with its Bishop to be based in Limerick;
this diocese would be in the Province of Dublin.
Achonry (2 cures) would join with the Dioceses of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh (23 cures); this
diocese would be in the Province of Armagh.
Those changes would come into effect when there is a vacancy in either the See of Tuam,
Killala and Achonry or the See of Limerick and Killaloe – but not before the General Synod of
Six cures would be transferred from the Diocese of Glendalough (Dublin and Glendalough
currently 56 cures) to the Diocese of Kildare (Meath and Kildare currently 17 cures): Leixlip
and Lucan; Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle-Lyons; Blessington and Manor Kilbride with
Ballymore-Eustace and Hollywood; Donoughmore and Donard with Dunlavin; Narraghmore
and Timolin with Castledermot and Kinneigh; and Athy, Kilberry and Fontstown with Kilkea.
That change would come into effect at a date to be determined – but not before the General
Synod of 2017.
An Implementation Committee would be established to support and engage with dioceses
directly affected by these changes and assist in identifying and managing the implications and
practicalities arising. Issues to be dealt with include names of dioceses, unified synods and
committee structures, representation, legislation for diocesan synods and the General Synod,
financial schemes and administrative arrangements. This committee would report to the
General Synod in 2017 and none of these changes would be brought into effect before then.
These measures are intended to strengthen the three numerically smallest dioceses in the Church.
They enable Tuam and Killala and Achonry to become part of larger unions and they give support to
Limerick and Killaloe, Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh and Meath and Kildare. They help redistribute
workloads. In light of all the circumstances, the Commission has concluded that adoption of these
proposals is the best way forward for the Church.
On behalf of the Commission, I wish to record our thanks to archbishops, bishops, members of
diocesan councils and other bodies and individuals who have offered their views and contributed to
our deliberations, especially on this aspect of our work. The responsibility to decide and legislate on
these matters now rests with members of the General Synod.
Ethne Harkness – Chairman, Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures
15 March 2016