Minister’s plea to DUP and Sinn Fein leaders to return to Stormont

Rev Harold Good. 'Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Rev Harold Good. 'Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The former president of the Methodist Church has appealed to the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Féin to restore the Assembly.

Rev Harold Good, who played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process, made his plea in an open letter to Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill after the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb.

In the letter, published on the website, Rev Good said he had been “deeply moved” by the spirit and courage of the Omagh families and asked if either party leader had watched the coverage of the anniversary commemorations.

“I suggest that passive admiration of the spirit of others is not enough, however sincere,” he said. “You will know that I am not alone in asking – if the stories and voices of the victims of Omagh are not enough, what will it take to lift us out of the sodden trenches of our political impasse?

“Surely we owe it to these yet quietly grieving people of incredible courage – and to those for whom they grieve – to come together and do whatever it will take to restore OUR Assembly and our confidence in normal effective governance?

“The horror of all horrors would be to contemplate the alternative, which some would suggest, would be another event of catastrophic proportions to bring us to our political senses. God forbid!”

Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since January last year. And Rev Good says it’s time the politicians made a return to Stormont.

“Sadly, most of us who presently are not directly affected are learning to live with political inactivity, not realising the very serious short and long-term consequences for all of us in the absence of a locally elected legislature,” he continued.

“So I plead with you once more, listen not to predictable and tired old voices like mine, but to those from Omagh and to so many others from across our community who, out of their unspeakable suffering, have shown us in their own incontrovertible way how to face the challenges of the present and the future with dispassionate courage.

“I will continue to watch this space with ongoing and deep concern, yet refusing to give up on my hopes of what you and all of our political leaders can yet deliver.

“I trust you have the will to undertake the necessary courageous journey as have the people of Omagh to whom I have already referred, along with so many others who share both my frustration as well as my great expectations.”