IS BISHOP TREANOR SPENDING £4 MILLION ON HIS PALACE?
Contributors to this Blog are claiming that Bishop Noel Treanor (above) of Belfast is spending £4 million pounds on the renovation of his palace on Belfast's Somerton Road!
Is that true? Can it be true when Pope Francis has asked bishops to live more simply?
The claims reaching here by Blog and other means are saying:
1. That Noel Treanor is spending £4 million on renovating Lisbreen!
2. That he is filling the newly renovated palace with very expensive antiques!
3. That these antiques are currently in storage at a Church property in South Belfast awaiting Lisbreen's completion.
4. That highly expensive carpets are being bought for Lisbreen and that the professional carpet layers have been instructed by Bishop Treanor to create borders not only around the rooms but actually around the expensive antiques.
5. That brick walls in Lisbreen are being demolished and replaced with plate glass walls to let the sunlight in.
6. That the Catholic neighbours on Somerton Road are up in arms about the restructuring of this traditional mansion.
7. That the Catholic neighbours on Somerton Road are angry that the upgrading of Lisbreen to a modern building reflects negatively on their buildings which have been retained in a traditional fashion.
8. That a highly expensive private driveway to Lisbreen is being created.
I have no personal knowledge of these matters - but I have been inundated with reports and complaints about them from various quarters.
I have pointed out to people that I have no imput whatsoever into Down and Connor matters and am not in a position to relay their concerns and complaints to Bishop Treanor.
Furthermore a small number of Down and Connor priests have contacted me to say that they are very angry about Bishop Treanor's spending on his house - particularly in view of the fact that one of the most important churches in the diocese - St Patrick's Church in Donegall Street, Belfast, is crumbling and needs millions of pounds to save it.
The administrator of Saint Patrick's - Father Michael Sheehan is struggling very hard to save his church and is highly regarded by his parishioners and the priests of the diocese in his brave efforts to raise the necessary funding.
But apart from the money what kind of signals in Bishop Treanor sending out? Does he not take Pope Francis' request for bishops to live more simply seriously?
How can £4 million be justified as a residence for one man - when families all over the diocese are either homeless or losing their homes to the banks because they cannot pay their mortgages?
Has Bishop Treanor not learned a lesson from the sacking of the "Bishop of Bling" by Pope Francis for spending millions on his palace?
Has Bishop Treanor not learned a lesson from Pope Francis' anger with the retired Cardinal Secretary of State in the Vatican for spending a fortune on his 6,200 square foot retirement apartment?
Maybe Bishop Treanor is not spending £4 million? But how much is he spending? Are the priests and people of the diocese not entitled to know what he is spending?
Is he not guilty of an awful insensitivity and arrogance by lashing out money on a bishop's palace in these times of credit squeeze when so many people are just keeping their heads above water?
This kind of spending is really a SCANDAL.