Following their meeting with Northern Ireland’s political parties at the end of September and with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP earlier this month, the leaders of the main Churches in Ireland met the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD today (25 October) at Iveagh House, Dublin.
Following the meeting at the Department for Foreign Affairs, the Church leaders said, “As part of the ongoing dialogue in relation to restoring the devolved institutions to Northern Ireland, following the collapse of the Assembly in January 2017, we welcomed the opportunity today to meet with Mr Coveney as an important part of those discussions.
“In our previous meetings with the political parties and the Secretary of State over the last few weeks, we have impressed upon them our concerns that the absence of devolved government in Northern Ireland was affecting many areas of community life, the delivery of public services and cross border co-operation. We conveyed these concerns to the Tánaiste, while emphasising the importance of continuing to build relationships and trust among all concerned, even in these difficult times. We also welcomed the opportunity to hear the Irish government’s assessment of the current situation.
“While not underestimating the challenges involved in moving forward, we emphasised the importance of dialogue and finding the space that encourages engagement and participation. As we had done with the political parties and the Secretary of State previously, we reiterated our willingness and desire to assist in the process where we could.”
The Church leaders present were: The Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke (Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland), Rev William Davison (President of the Methodist Church in Ireland), Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Clogher (representing The Most Rev Eamon Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland), Right Rev Dr Charles McMullen (Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland), Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.
- Issued on behalf of the Church Leaders’ Group by Mark Smith, Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s press officer: For further information contact 028 (048 from RoI) 9041 7208 / +44 (0) 7802 264 354 or Email: [email protected] W: org
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 862 3298