With the conclusion of the political negotiations and the publication of The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan entitled ‘A Fresh Start’, involving political parties in Northern Ireland and the governments of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, in a joint statement Church leaders have welcomed the fact that an accommodation has been reached.
‘As Church leaders, we came together in September and called on our elected representatives to place at the heart of their discussions “an awareness of their shared responsibility for the common good”. We welcome the announcement that, with the support of the two Governments, a wide ranging agreement has been reached.
‘We recognise that everyone involved in the negotiations will not have achieved all that they wanted in this agreement, nor will everyone who reads it be fully content with every aspect of it. Such is the nature of any agreed accommodation. However, we pray that this particular accommodation reached in the interests of all, will be the basis for beginning to restore hope to those who are struggling and re–establish the trust that has been slowly ebbing from our political institutions.
‘As Churches we will study the detail of The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan and will no doubt comment further. We also encourage it to be carefully and widely read across the community and given fair and thorough consideration.’
Rev. Brian Anderson, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh
Rt. Rev. Dr. Ian McNie, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh
Rev. Dr. Donald Watts, President, Irish Council of Churches