27th MARCH 2007
Statement from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, following agreement to form a power sharing Executive in Northern Ireland
“Yesterday’s events in Northern Ireland are certainly historic and bring to an end years of violence, hurt and misery for thousands of families there. Importantly, it marks the beginning of new hope for all who live there.
“Politicians on both sides now have the opportunity to move from positions of ideology to one of pragmatism. They will now work together to ensure that those they represent can live together in peace.
“As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in Deus Caritas Est: ‘The just ordering of society and the State is a central responsibility of politics.’
“As the devolved government of Northern Ireland is established, those politicians will also have to work not just to build a just and fair and peaceful society, but they will also have to get on with the everyday running of a functioning, prospering society – building roads, supplying essential services and fostering an economy where all citzens have an equal chance of prosperity.
“That work must be carried forward with ongoing support from Dublin and London, working with Belfast for the people of Northern Ireland.
“The success of this new chapter depends on the collaboration and participation of all parties, North and South.
“The important process of community building and reconciliation goes on. That process is an essential one for sustained peace and it is a process which will continue to be a priority for the Church.
“We should all be reflecting at what the future of Ireland should look like. The only future possible is one where mutual understanding is fostered, mutual understanding between London and Dublin, between North and South, between Unionist and Nationalist, between Catholic and Protestant, between believers in Jesus Christ and non-believers.
“It is not going to be easy. Ireland in the future will be a very different country, with a different ethnical and cultural mix and fully part of a vibrant Europe. What we have to do is to bring out what is most imaginative in all our traditions and work together for an Ireland where everyone will feel they belong.”