Speaking after the Northern Ireland Assembly finally nominated a First and deputy First Minister Dr Bruce said, “On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, I would like to congratulate Paul Givan MLA, on becoming Northern Ireland’s fifth First Minister.
“The last four days will not be remembered as Northern Ireland’s finest and the Secretary of State’s further intervention will do little to enhance our finely balanced devolved constitutional settlement. Nonetheless, I am thankful that we are not facing another collapse of the Assembly, which would have disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in society.
“As we have a First and deputy First Minister in place, now is the time to move forward recognising shared opportunities and finding collective solutions to the issues that face us. Politics is not an endeavour for the faint-hearted, but requires courageous leadership, maturity, and trust. Building the latter will not be easy after recent days, but it is badly needed. It is my prayer that both Mr Givan and Mrs O’Neill will get to know one another on a human level, and will be unafraid to make the hard the decisions necessary required, stepping beyond their own comfort at times for the sake of the common good,” he said.
“Over the past 16 months we have watched as our political leaders in the Northern Ireland Executive have battled this pandemic together, time and again seeking to find a balanced accommodation for the safety and good of all. Throughout this difficult time it has been, without doubt, not only beneficial but essential for local leaders to be making local decisions affecting local people. There is huge potential for the energy and resourcefulness we have witnessed over this period to be directed towards other areas such as tackling hospital waiting lists or revitalising local communities.”
Dr Bruce continued, “There can be no doubt that the call to leadership in any walk of life, especially in the public arena, is not an easy one, as it brings with it an additional weight of responsibility that goes beyond mere politics. As Mr Givan assumes the responsibilities of leadership, alongside Mrs O’Neill, together with all Executive Ministers, they can be assured of my prayers and the prayers of many throughout our Church.”