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It's not permissible for politicians to allow sick people to die

 

By Canon Walter Lewis

My thought for this weekend is about the failure of our elected politicians. I'm referring in particular to the DUP and Sinn Fein and how they've not been able to ensure that the instruments of government are activated so Northern Ireland can get back to work.

Many people in countries throughout the world would give their eye-teeth to be in our position.

The conditions for active government here are in place. The finance is immediately available. This is a modern democratic society in which the political parties commit themselves to work together for the good of every person. This is a privileged undertaking.

Our politicians are not in office for their self-advancement and that of their political parties. They are there to serve their fellow human beings. This is a life of service to others.

It therefore beggars belief that our politicians know people in Northern Ireland are critically ill and are in urgent need of medical attention, but will not lift a hand to try and relieve their suffering.

It beggars belief that schools are in urgent need of money to educate our children, but politicians are not moved to act.

It beggars belief that our tourism and hospitality industry is outstandingly dynamic, but essential government support is absent.

In effect, government in Northern Ireland has ground to a halt. In ethical terms, there is no defensible reason why this situation should prevail.

Ethics dictate that all efforts should be made to alleviate suffering. Care of the sick is a top priority in our society. Allowing people to suffer and die is not permissible.

The politicians must sink their differences and begin to care for the sick.

Over recent weeks and months, I have not come across any comment in the media that supports the non-action of our politicians in this regard.

Indeed, every person I have spoken to expresses incredulity and shame at the way our sick people are being treated by those in public office.

Irrespective of party political persuasion, it is clear that the general populace of Northern Ireland want the sick looked after urgently. Our politicians should remind themselves of the first duty of government - to protect human life.

While the situation at Stormont continues, other vital areas of life cannot progress - education, tourism and hospitality, industrial and technological development, social services and government funding.

The stasis at Stormont impacts all these areas of life negatively. Finance is choked off. Jobs are at risk. Public confidence is damaged.

Instead of the parties at Stormont sharing power for the good of all, the political divisions of mistrust and hostility become more entrenched.

It seems there is much at stake right now. Our politicians can decide for or against putting their duty to the people of Northern Ireland first - healing the sick, educating our children, developing the economy, securing jobs.

Whatever they choose, their duty is twofold - to protect life and to serve others.

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