Statement from Catholic Church delegation following meeting with Democratic Unionist Party at Parliament Buildings, Stormont

09 Oct 2006


9 OCTOBER 2006




Speaking after the meeting between the Northern Ireland Catholic Council
for Social Affairs, led by Archbishop Seán Brady and a delegation from
the Democratic Unionist Party led by Dr Ian Paisley, Archbishop Brady said:

‘I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Dr Paisley and other
members of the Democratic Unionist Party today as part of their ongoing
engagement with Church and civic leaders. It was a very helpful and
constructive meeting. We had the opportunity to exchange views on issues
such as addressing poverty and social need, ensuring high standards and
adequate funding for education, the right to faith based schools and
how to provide greater support for the family based on marriage as the
keystone of a secure society.

We also discussed the benefits that would derive to all parts of the
community from a stable and devolved administration in Northern Ireland.
This included the need to develop support for the administration of justice
and of law and order in every section of the community as a fundamental
principle of democracy.

Today’s meeting confirmed to me that all of us have a part to play in
creating a more stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland. I firmly
believe that such a future is within our grasp if each one of us can find
the courage to take account of the needs of the other and not just those
of our own community. I think that real peace will come only when we focus
on the common good of all of our society and not just on sectional interest.
Northern Ireland is fast becoming a more diverse and dynamic society. I hope
and pray that coming months will also see it become a more democratically
accountable and stable society. Perhaps then we will be able to unlock the
great potential that undoubtedly exists within the people of Northern Ireland
and set this place free to become one of the safest, most welcoming and most
prosperous parts of the world.

I want to thank Dr Paisley and the DUP for making today’s meeting possible.
I look forward to further meetings with him and his colleagues. It is in
such dialogue and engagement that we can dispel fears, create understanding
and build trust. A lot of progress has been made. Hope are now rising for
further progress. I pray that these hopes may not be dashed but realised


Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Fr Timothy Bartlett (0044 7879 416685)

The Catholic Church delegation at today’s meeting was made up of representatives of NICCOSA
(Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs), of which Archbishop
Seán Brady is the Chair. The delegation included:

– Archbishop Seán Brady (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland)
– Bishop Francis Lagan (Auxiliary Bishop of Derry)
– Fr Timothy Bartlett (Secretary to the Northern Bishops)
– Mrs Deirdre O’Rawe (Regional Director of ACCORD NI, the Catholic Marriage
Advisory service)
– Mr Martin O’Brien (Barrister)
– Mrs Anne Gibson (Solicitor)