Rev Fr Gary Donegan, who is widely recognised for his outstanding contribution to peacebuilding and community work in North Belfast, will today receive an honorary degree from Queen’s University Belfast.
Fr Donegan’s peacebuilding work came during turbulent and extraordinary times in North Belfast. The parish lost 99 people during The Troubles - the largest loss of life in any parish.
His years at Holy Cross Ardoyne included the blockade of Holy Cross Girls Primary School in 2001, a suicide epidemic which saw 13 teenagers die in Ardoyne inside six weeks in 2004, and a series of parades disputes which reached an agreement in 2016.
He is credited with having shown unwavering dedication to achieving peace and reconciliation for the north Belfast community, playing a key role in talks and negotiations and contributing to building a shared society. He worked across the religious divide to help people dealing with issues related to legacy, economic, social and generational challenges.
A respected orator on the subject of peace building and community cohesion, Fr Donegan has contributed to events at Queen’s University Belfast exploring peace and reconciliation.
Fr Donegan said: “This is a touching recognition by Queen’s University Belfast. My heart will always be in North Belfast and I consider it both a blessing and privilege to have been there for so many years. Peacebuilding is often hard but always worth it. I very much admire the thought leadership Queen’s University is giving on the subjects of peace, conflict resolution and transformation and I am honoured to have now become an honorary graduate.”
Born in Newtownbutler, Fr Donegan entered the Passionist Monastery in Grann, Enniskillen as a postulate at the age of 19 and was ordained 1991.
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