Church leaders tackle Northern Ireland politicians on stalled Assembly
The leaders of the main Churches in Ireland met political leaders and representatives of the five main political parties in Northern Ireland yesterday to share concerns about the absence of devolved government in Northern Ireland.
The churchmen said political leadership in democratic societies was vital: "In times of increasing global uncertainty, local leadership is vital to protect employment and essential public services, to give our communities - and especially our young people - a sense of confidence about the future."
Former First Minister Arlene Foster attended, as did Sinn Fein's deputy president Michelle O'Neill.
UUP leader Robin Swann, the SDLP's Colum Eastwood and former Alliance minister Stephen Farry were also present.
The Church leaders were represented by Presbyterian Moderator Dr Charles McMullen; Catholic Primate Eamon Martin; Church of Ireland Primate Dr Richard Clarke; President of the Methodist Church the Rev William Davison, and the Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Irish Council of Churches.
After the meeting Mrs Foster tweeted: "I welcome the opportunity to meet with Church leaders to hear concerns and how they can help with the challenges which exist. NI deserves decisions now on hospitals, roads, jobs and schools."
Mrs O'Neill described the meeting - part of the Church Leaders' Group's regular meeting series - as "positive".