‘Politicians are letting Northern Ireland down’

Former Presbyterian Moderator, Rev Dr Norman Hamilton. Pic by Brian Little/Presseye.com
Former Presbyterian Moderator, Rev Dr Norman Hamilton. Pic by Brian Little/Presseye.com

Political leaders in NI have been told they are being put to shame by the hard-working people of the Province.

Speaking as the General Assembly of the PCI discussed the current political crisis, Rev Daniel Kane of West Church in Ballymena said the big talking point in the Co Antrim town was the lack of “grown up political leadership”.

He said: “The sad thing is that in contrast to this lack of political leadership is the quality of our commerce, our industry, our engineering and our technological expertise. We punch way above our weight on the global stage.”

Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton was particularly critical of politicians for their lack of civility. He commented: “Back in 2015 this (PCI) Assembly passed a resolution urging all those who speak in the public square to do so with conviction, knowledge and civility.

“Little seems to have changed – from phone-in programmes to political speechmaking. In re-affirming our commitment to civilised debate, I am sure that the whole Assembly regards it every bit as reprehensible to celebrate or seek the death of a political opponent as it is to engage in abusive and vulgar language in the European parliament.

“Public discourse still needs serious upgrading, for low language keeps the sectarian pot boiling.”

Very Rev Dr Roy Patton said: “We pray that by God’s grace outpoured they will be able to rise above party political interests and work together for the common good.”

The General Assembly resolved to express its “serious disquiet about the damage being done to the fabric of society” by the current crisis, and “strongly encourage all involved in upcoming political talks to urgently seek a resolution that establishes good government based on good working relationships”.