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Clerics urge politicians to ‘go the extra mile’ to restore Stormont

Faith leaders in Northern Ireland have issued a statement urging political parties to keep their eyes on the goal of restoring devolution as the talks paused for the Christmas period.

The sharing of power at Stormont parliament between unionist and nationalist parties in Northern Ireland broke down in 2017, meaning there are no ministers in charge to make decisions about important issues that affect the people of the country.

Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh Archdiocese, signed the statement on behalf of the Catholic Church.

In their joint statement, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches said: “Like many across our community, we are disappointed that it has not been possible to restore the devolved institutions before Christmas.

 

Encouragement

“As leaders of Ireland’s main churches, we want to encourage all those taking part and we pray that, together, they fully grasp this opportunity when they return to the negotiating table in January.”

The church leaders continued: “It is incumbent on all of us to recognise the road that has been travelled since the collapse of the Executive nearly three years ago.

“It is a journey that has damaged our health service and our schools. It has also nurtured a growing sense of despair in our politics and contributed to additional hardships and worry experienced by the most vulnerable people in our society.

“While we acknowledge that points of difference obviously remain, the goal of restoring devolution remains within reach, even if it still rests a little way off.

Collective support

 

“We add our collective support to this process and encourage those taking part to continue working creatively and courageously towards a deal that can bring stability and begin to restore a sense of hope.

“For the sake of the whole community, we urge all our political representatives to go that extra mile.

“It is our prayer that, through generosity of spirit and courageous leadership, a balanced accommodation that serves the common good, and has reconciliation at its heart, can be found and one that will lead to a sustainable power-sharing executive in the New Year.”

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