News in Brief

By Irish America Staff
February / March 2015

Gay Priest Comes Out

Father Martin Dolan, a priest at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Francis Street in Dublin’s city for 15 years, came out as gay to his parishioners during a Sunday Mass in early January while calling for same-sex marriage equality in advance of the country’s May referendum on the issue. He received a standing ovation from his parishioners. The Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who has been critical of the church himself, has declined to comment.

Researchers at Maynooth University have reached a breakthrough in the fight against diabetes. They have identified a protein called Pellino3 which may block inflammation and hence ward off type 2 diabetes.

Digital Parish Registries at NLI

The National Library of Ireland announced plans in January to digitize almost 400,000 microfilm images of Catholic parish registries and make them available to the public for free. The project is the most ambitious undertaking NLI has ever taken and is arguably the greatest contribution to genealogical research ever made by an Irish institution.

Trinity Geneticist Breakthrough

Geneticists at Trinity College Dublin have made a major breakthrough with important implications for understanding the evolution of genomes in a variety of organisms. They found a mechanism that explains how gene duplication leads to novel functions in individuals.

Gene duplication is a frequent phenomenon in eukaryotic organisms (which safeguard their genetic material within cell membranes), including yeast, plants, and animals. But understanding how duplication leads to biological innovation is difficult because evolution cannot be easily traced, since it occurs on timescales in the order of millions of years.

Racism Persists in Ireland

Recent figures released by the Immigrant Council of Ireland for the 2014 year reveal that incidents of racism in Ireland have more than doubled. The report found that there were 217 reported cases filed, up from 144 in 2013. The statistics reveal that 76 percent of the perpetrators were Irish and that a majority of the victims were of an African background. Ten percent of the incidents reported were physical, with verbal abuse being the most common.

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