Political instability in North erasing hope, say church leaders

Clerics urge Stormont politicians to be aware of ‘shared responsibilty for common good’

“Our politicians have a critical opportunity to restore hope to those who are struggling,” said Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin in a joint statement with other Christian leaders. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

“Our politicians have a critical opportunity to restore hope to those who are struggling,” said Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin in a joint statement with other Christian leaders. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Political instability is erasing hope from people’s lives, the leaders of Ireland’s four main Christian churches warned on Monday as all-party talks chaired by the British and Irish governments began at Stormont.

The leaders of the Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist churches urged politicians to be aware of “their shared responsibility for the common good”.

They expressed their concern at the “rising number of people struggling to cope on low incomes and the anxiety that the current political instability brings to the most vulnerable members of society”.

“As Northern Ireland’s elected representatives continue to negotiate the future of our political institutions, an awareness of their shared responsibility for the common good needs to be at the heart of the discussion,” they said in a joint statement.

Opportunity

Eamon MartinIrelandRichard ClarkeBrian AndersonDonald Watts

“The generosity and solidarity demonstrated by local communities in response to the refugee crisis reflects the kind of society we want to live in. Increasing levels of poverty are taking us further from that vision, threatening social cohesion,” they added.