Belfast Telegraph

Churches tell Coveney of unease over stalemate at Stormont

By Staff Reporter

Leaders of Northern Ireland's four main Churches yesterday united to voice their concerns to the Irish Government about the lack of progress to restore Stormont.

Their audience with Tanaiste Simon Coveney was the latest in a series of meetings between the churchmen and key political figures.

Speaking after the meeting at Iveagh House in Dublin, the 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 Tanaiste, 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."

Attending were Church of Ireland Primate Dr Richard Clarke; Rev William Davison, president of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Clogher; Presbyterian Church moderator Dr Charles McMullen, and Rev Brian Anderson, president of the Irish Council of Churches.

Belfast Telegraph

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