Monday, 21 June 2021

Vicar who found himself in middle of a political storm

A CLERGYMAN who found himself at the centre of an infamous religious boycott has died, aged 90.

Rev Adrian Fisher worked in the parish of North Stoke with Mangewell and Ipsden for 22 years. He served in the Irish Guards and was also an Army chaplain. In 1957, at the age of 33, he arrived in Fethard-on-Sea, County Wexford, to become a parish priest for the Church of Ireland.

He had moved to the area just as a row erupted over whether the daughters of Sheila Cloney, the Protestant wife of a Catholic farmer, should go to a Catholic school.

Mrs Cloney fled with her children, crossing the border to Northern Ireland, and Mr Fisher recalled angry Catholic clergy demanding that she be brought back. They then commanded their followers in the village to boycott all Protestant businesses but it was called off after a year when a Catholic priest made peace by buying a pack of cigarettes from a Protestant-owned newsagents.

Sheila Cloney returned home in 1958 and home-schooled her children. Friends said Mr Fisher behaved with dignity and composure during the time. The events became the subject of several books and a film, A Love Divided.

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