3rd May 2007
Four Church Leaders respond to political developments in Northern Ireland
Following their meeting in Armagh today, the leaders of the four main Churches issued the following statement:
Responding to UVF Statement:
Responding to the UVF Statement, the four Church leaders said: “We welcome today’s statement as an important move in the right direction. We applaud the efforts of those involved in moving the organisation into a position where its members can now focus on responsible, constructive participation in civil society.
“We particularly welcome the statement of opposition to all criminality and the instruction to members to co-operate fully with the lawful authorities to end criminal activity in our society.
“There is an urgent need for constructive community leadership to address the serious deprivation that exists in parts of Northern Ireland. We believe there are excellent opportunities for people with concern for their communities to make a contribution to improve the quality of life of those who have for so long been held back.
“However, we express disappointment that weaponry is not being definitively put beyond use. We encourage the organisation to move further and destroy all weapons. We urge others to follow this same path.”
On today’s meeting of Northern Ireland’s political leaders with Chancellor Gordon Brown the Church leaders said:
“The four Church leaders have written today to Chancellor Gordon Brown, supporting the efforts of local politicians to secure a more substantial and comprehensive financial package for Northern Ireland. After years of investment in security, we now call for years of investment in peace.”
The Most Reverend Séan Brady, Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Reverend Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh
The Reverend Dr David Clarke, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Reverend Ivan McElhinney, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
Martin Long Director of the Catholic Communications Office (00 353) 86 172 7678