Church leaders meet Secretary of State on NI political impasse

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The leaders of Ireland’s main churches met the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Julian Smith MP, in Armagh yesterday evening to express their concerns regarding the continued Stormont impasse and its effect on civic society and the most vulnerable in particular.  This morning (10 October) they issued the following joint statement:

“As the leaders all of the main Churches in Northern Ireland, we met in Armagh last evening with the Secretary of State to highlight our strong concerns regarding the continued Stormont impasse.  We discussed with him the urgent need for the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly to address issues such as welfare reform mitigations, health and education policy, as well as the urgent economic and wider issues surrounding Brexit.  In particular we conveyed our strongly held and shared conviction that the devolved institutions need to be restored before the 21 October to avoid unacceptably wide-ranging abortion legislation being imposed on Northern Ireland.  The protection and the dignity of all human life is of vital importance, both women and unborn children – both lives matter.

“We believe that our Northern Ireland political parties have it in their own hands to do something about this.  They all need to take risks, especially for the most vulnerable in society, and make the compromises necessary to find an accommodation that will restore the devolved institutions.”

Most Rev Eamon Martin
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of all Ireland

Rt Rev Dr William Henry
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Rev Sam McGuffin
President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

Rev Brian Anderson
President of the Irish Council of Churches

Rt Rev John McDowell
Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher (representing Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland)

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator of Dromore & Primate of all Ireland is available for interview on behalf of the Church Leaders’ Group.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.