CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR UNIFIED POLITICAL RESPONSE TO ADDRESS NORTHERN IRELAND VIOLENCE AND COMMUNITY TENSIONS

16 April 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Following recent disturbances in Northern Ireland, the Church Leaders Group (Ireland) has written an open letter to political leaders in Northern Ireland, the Governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the European Union. In the letter, the church leaders echo the appeal from local church and community leaders for political leaders “to treat Northern Ireland’s fragile peace with care”.

They emphasise the importance of the three strands of the Good Friday Agreement and the consequent responsibility to respect all identities and foster good relations within Northern Ireland, on the island of Ireland and between the UK and Ireland. The senior churchmen also call on the Northern Ireland Executive to make a joint approach to the UK Government and the European Union in relation to the challenges posed by the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol.

They express their support for the PSNI and underline the importance of ensuring that any concerns about policing are addressed in a way that supports and strengthens democratic institutions and processes. The letter has been issued by the Most Revd John McDowell, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; Most Revd Eamon Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; Rt Revd Dr David Bruce, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Revd Dr Tom McKnight, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland and Very Revd Dr Ivan Patterson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.

The correspondence has been sent to the Ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis MP; Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD; Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD; Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD; President of the European Commission Dr Ursula van der Leyen ….

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