Successful banker trades it all for priesthood

A FORMER high-flying banker, who once played the international currency markets, raking in a large salary and bonuses, has given it all up to join the priesthood.

David Barrins, 32, from Collooney in Co Sligo, turned his back on the lifestyle at the height of the excess in 2005 and took a vow of poverty to become a Dominican – a member of the Order of Preachers (OP). Speaking before his ordination yesterday, Fr Barrins OP said he hopes his life experience will help him relate to people as he begins his ministry as a priest.

“I’ve seen what it’s like to face choices, to earn money, to pay bills, and to pay the mortgage,” he said.

“My brothers in the order come from a variety of backgrounds too – from bankers to pharmacists. It helps us to relate to people. It gives us an ability to speak about the world we have come from, and to the world.”

Fr Barrins graduated from college with a finance degree and began working for AIB in the international banking sector in Dublin. He traded currency on the global money markets, specialising in Japanese yen but despite the salary and perks, he said something was missing from his life.

“It wasn’t satisfying on a deeper level. I had money, but it didn’t give me the freedom I wanted,” he said.

He first felt the “call of God” while serving as an altar boy in Sligo, but he said he was reluctant to discuss with friends his urge to become a priest. He said he wanted to continue working, to marry and have kids, but felt the call was there.

“I said I’ll have to either ignore it, or give in and give it a go,” he said.

He joined the Dominicans’ novitiate and took vows of poverty, obedience and celibacy, and said as the years passed, he grew “happier and happier”.

As Brother Barrins, he was appointed the order’s director of youth ministry.

And yesterday he was ordained a priest by Bishop of Cork and Ross, Most Reverend Dr John Buckley, at a ceremony in St Mary’s Dominican Church on Pope’s Quay, Cork.

He was joined by his proud parents, Christopher and Celine, and his siblings, Peter, Rory and Tracy, relations and friends. He is the third Dominican priest to be ordained in Ireland this year.

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