Prison Chaplain recognised in New Year Honours list

Date published: 27 December 2019


A prison chaplain has paid tribute to his fellow clergy and prison community after being recognised for his work in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Graphic for DoJ news

The Very Reverend Stephen McBrearty, who is lead Prison Chaplain for the Catholic Church, was speaking after becoming Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Fr McBrearty said:  “I am humbled and delighted to be the recipient of this award which recognises the work of the entire prison chaplaincy in Northern Ireland.  I would like to pay tribute to the extraordinary chaplains from all Christian denominations and other faiths, the men and women who untiringly give their service to the Prison Parish family. 

“Throughout the history of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, chaplains have been appointed to spiritually and pastorally accompany those placed into their care and those they work alongside. In their ministry, chaplains bring an awareness of the need for prisoners to be reconciled and resettled into the community within which much pain and suffering has been caused by their actions.

“The Prison Service works tirelessly for the community and I wish, on behalf of all the prison chaplains, to pay tribute to the Director General, Ronnie Armour and his team for generously supporting and affirming the work of prison chaplaincy.”

Congratulating Fr Stephen on his honour, Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service Ronnie Armour said: “This is a special day for Fr Stephen, the entire Chaplaincy and the whole of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.  Chaplains in our three prisons play a crucial role in supporting the people in our care.  They are a trusted and valuable part of the prison family.

“I want to pay tribute to all of our Chaplains but in particular the work of Fr Stephen in Hydebank over the last 22 years which has been invaluable to our staff, our partners but most of all to the young men and women in custody.  I hope and trust that he will continue that work for many years to come.  I want to offer my personal congratulations, and that of everyone associated with the Prison Service, to Fr Stephen on this richly deserved recognition of his selfless work.”

Notes to editors: 

1.  The Most Rev Stephen McBrearty became a Prison Chaplain at Hydebank Wood in August 1997 and was appointed lead Catholic Chaplain to the Northern Ireland Prison Service in 2008 by the Most Reverend Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor.

2. Fr Stephen was ordained in 1981 and is Parish Priest of St Colmcille’s Holywood.

3.  Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DoJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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