Church leaders call on UK Government to facilitate the restoration of good governance in Northern Ireland
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The Church Leaders Group said their engagements at Assembly Buildings were positive and constructive.
In a joint statement, the leaders of the Church of Ireland, the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church, and Irish Council of Churches said: “During the meetings we highlighted the feedback coming to us from communities across Northern Ireland regarding the seriousness of the current situation – indicating the real and sustained financial hardship that is being experienced by many people, combined with the everyday reality that many of the normal services that society depends upon were close to breaking point.
"We also indicated to the party leaders that this was leading to a rising sense of despair, and even hopelessness throughout the community, linked to a growing anger at the current poor state of governance.”
The Church Leaders added: “With each of the parties we discussed the urgent need for the restoration of Northern Ireland’s devolved government. While it was acknowledged that this wouldn’t be a panacea for all problems, it was however recognised as an important first step, and was something that, if properly resourced by the UK Government, would make a real and meaningful difference to the everyday lives of people.”
The Church leaders stressed that the restoration of good governance in Northern Ireland was also important in re-establishing hope and a vision for the future.
They indicated that while ultimately everyone will be living with some challenging aspects, both of Brexit and of post-Brexit arrangements, a devolved government will be ideally placed to capitalise on the new opportunities opening up for Northern Ireland in the medium and long-term.
Following the meetings on November 3, the Church leaders are calling upon all political parties in Northern Ireland “to have as a priority acting for the common good and in so doing genuinely to take account of the needs, concerns and aspirations of ‘the other.”
They are also calling upon the UK Government to “urgently to take all necessary steps to facilitate the restoration of good governance in Northern Ireland, including the return of fully functioning and resourced devolved institutions, north-south and east-west bodies.”