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Cardinal and Robinson lost moral high ground

For those seeking leadership and example, the decision by Cardinal Brady to remain in his post will come as a deep disappointment - coupled with the decision of Peter Robinson to stay as First Minister.

These decisions only serve to reinforce the notion that in Ireland - particularly in Northern Ireland - we have no real leaders.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of either individual's personal circumstances or culpability, they are dreadfully damaged.

Both Cardinal Brady and Peter Robinson now lack the moral standing expected in their respective roles.

Personal arrogance, determination to carry on, or even a desire to rectify what has been gone wrong, are no reasons to cling to office.

Regardless of what the actual reasons for remaining are, the impression in both these cases is a desperation to cling on. Neither Cardinal Brady nor Peter Robinson have the ability to rise above the issues which caused their downfall. Failure to realise this is either naivete in the extreme, or pure, self-serving arrogance.

Those around these men - probably out of sympathy or loyalty - will probably confirm that staying on is the right option.

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This does not stand up to scrutiny. The senior Labour politicians who told Gordon Brown to go gave the best advice.

So, for what it's worth, Cardinal Brady and Peter Robinson: sorry, but you have stayed too long. You are too damaged to have any moral authority. By remaining you only damage the standing of the Church and Northern Ireland politics, so it's time to go.

CLIVE KIRKWOOD

Belfast

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