Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland church leaders call for renewed efforts towards reconciliation on anniversary

Archbishop Richard Clarke (left) and Dr Eamon Martin
Archbishop Richard Clarke (left) and Dr Eamon Martin
Alf McCreary

By Alf McCreary

Church leaders yesterday voiced the hope that the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement would inspire a new push towards reconciliation.

In a joint statement, the Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke and the Catholic Primate Dr Eamon Martin said that the peace we have today took a great effort to achieve.

They said: "It will equally take risk and leadership at all levels to maintain.

"It is therefore our sincere shared prayer that this anniversary will help to rekindle a spirit of opportunity, healing and hope for lasting peace which is now needed more than ever.

"We call on people of goodwill to be ambassadors of reconciliation, helping to build trust and respect to move us closer together as a society that places the common good as its primary purpose."

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Noble McNeely said that the Agreement had "taught us what can be done".

He said: "Twenty years on, many issues remain but the mountain does not loom half as large. As we stop to reflect we need to remind ourselves how far we have come and how far we still have to travel.

"I am thankful to God for how far we have come, and I pray for boldness and courage among political leaders ... to find a way forward for the good of all."

Methodist President the Rev Dr Laurence Graham urged people "to celebrate the courage, hope and commitment to reconciliation that was displayed by many people 20 years ago".

He said: "It was active, brave steps towards real engagement which generated the GFA. However, there is less active engagement towards reconciliation than there was 20 years ago. We call on everyone to be courageous and proactive in building trust, respect and reconciliation."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph