Activist priest Father Jack Robinson is no stranger to controversy. He was in trouble even when he was studying for the priesthood, when he was suspended for a year.
Since his ordination and subsequent appointment to St Patrick’s Parish in Kilkenny, Father Jack Robinson continues to raise eyebrows through his involvement with disputes between flat-dwellers and landlords.
Father Jackie as he is known to his parishioners and Father Jim Forristal have set up a flat dwellers association in Kilkenny and find themselves in constant struggle with Kilkenny Corporation.
Thanks to a socially committed bishop Father Jackie can be outspoken about the housing injustices he perceives to be taking place in Kilkenny. He has openly stated that young married couples are having babies just so they can get a home.
This statement is vehemently denied by Father Jackie’s biggest critic Alderman John Houlihan, the City Mayor. Alderman Houlihan says statistics show the Local Authority provides housing for couples without children. While he believes Father Jackie is sincere in what he is doing, he thinks the priest is ultimately misdirected, misguided and misinformed. That said, he would not deny the priest the right to be so involved.
Father Jackie thinks some people may be shocked by him, but he will not be changing his tactics any time soon.
It’s a hard society today. You no longer can get things by asking and saying please for things any more, you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to get in there and get involved and you’ve got to put your point across in so many ways.
An RTÉ Newsround report broadcast on 7 December 1975.