Saturday, 5 February 2011

Prince Charles in Belfast

HRH The Prince of Wales yesterday visited St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, Alfred Street, Belfast, to view the result of a £3.5 million restoration project.

HRH was greeted by Dame Mary Peters DBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast.

Outside, Prince Charles listened to a brief overview on the restoration work to the outside of the church from Reverend Father Martin Graham, Curate of St Malachy’s, who accompanied HRH throughout the engagement.

In 1941 a Luftwaffe bombing raid resulted in extensive damage to the original windows and they were temporarily repaired using concrete.

In 2006 the Diocese of Down and Connor embarked on a project to restore the external historic church fabric, install disability access and a full internal restoration based on historic records and research.

Father Graham invited Ms Elizabeth McLaughlin, Secretary of Saint Malachy’s Pastoral Council, to present the Prince of Wales with a gift of a montage of photographs depicting Saint Malachy’s Church before, during and after the restoration. HRH also accepted an invitation to sign the visitors’ book.

The project was funded by the Diocese, including parish funding and a substantial grant from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (Historic Buildings Grant).

In the nearby Parochial House His Royal Highness met privately with Bishop Treanor, Bishop Walsh, Father Curran, Father McGinnity and Father Graham over light refreshments.

At a separate meeting, His Royal Highness chaired a discussion with a number of church representatives and other stakeholders to consider the role of redundant and distressed churches and church estates in the heritage-led regeneration of communities.

Also in attendance were:-
  • The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Belfast
  • The Rt Hon Peter Robinson MLA, First Minister of Northern Ireland
  • Councillor Ian Adamson OBE, Sheriff for the County Borough of Belfast
  • Mr Peter McNaney, Chief Executive, Belfast City Council
  • Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP, MLA, MP for South Belfast
  • Mr Edwin Poots, MLA, NI Minister of the Environment
  • Mr Leo O’Reilly, Permanent Secretary, Department of the Environment
  • The Most Reverend Dr Noel Treanor, RC Bishop of Down and Connor
  • The Most Reverend Dr Patrick Walsh, RC Bishop Emeritus of Down and Connor
  • The Reverend Michael McGinnity, Parish Priest, St Malachy’s Church
  • The Reverend Father Martin Graham, Curate, St Malachy’s Church

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