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Archbishop Martin wants peace to prevail from Northern Ireland political crisis

By Staff Reporter

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has become the latest religious figure to warn politicians not to resort to "predictable, wearisome slogans, or denigrating, divisive language" in the Assembly election campaign.

Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, said the current Stormont crisis, so soon after last year's election, "risks further disillusionment with the political process".

He urged those standing for Stormont: "Help to bring us further along the road to lasting peace, a shared future and prosperity for all."

"Consider carefully your responsibility and noble vocation to work for the common good," the all-Ireland Primate wrote in an open letter to the politicians. "The premature collapse of our political institutions so soon after the last election is a serious matter for all of us and cannot be taken lightly.

"The sense I am picking up from people on the ground is that it risks further disillusionment with the political process."

He continued: "We have all learned through bitter experience, that wrong is never all on one side - too many families among us still grieve the losses, or nurse the wounds of sectarianism and hatred. We do not want that for our children and grandchildren.

"Other troubled parts of the world look to us as a sign of hope that peace can be achieved. Continue to work to sustain the painstaking progress, which many of you and your predecessors helped to deliver.

"Help to bring us further along the road to lasting peace, a shared future and prosperity for all.

"Do not resort to predictable, wearisome slogans or denigrating, divisive language.

"Like many in the community, the churches are available to assist you in any way. We will certainly pray for you in the coming weeks."

Archbishop Martin's comments follow similar messages from other church leaders in Northern Ireland. The President of the Methodist Church, Rev Bill Mullally, urged Assembly candidates to exercise restraint in their language after the campaign was described as "brutal".

Church of Ireland Primate, Richard Clarke, has written to the leaders of the main parties and urged them "to say and do only that which is for the common good of all the people of Northern Ireland".

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