Belfast’s Church of Ireland cathedral has appointed its first Catholic canon in amid protests.

While Fr Edward O’Donnell was being installed as an ecumenical canon at St Anne’s Cathedral, a peaceful “no popery” protest was held outside.

Fr O’Donnell, the parish priest of St Brigid’s Church, joins two other ecumenical canons, one Methodist and one Presbyterian – both, by coincidence, called Rev Ruth Patterson.

The canons can take part in ecumenical services by preaching, leading prayers and reading the Scriptures.

Fr O’Donnell said: “Today is a very special day – special at a very personal level, that this honour has been bestowed upon me, but [also] special because so many people share in it.

“It’s a first for Belfast, and that too makes this day very special.”

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