Rev Norman Hamilton: After the events of the last few weeks, there is now little point in churches meeting Sinn Fein

Over the years, along with members of other churches, I have met representatives of Sinn Fein on many occasions.

By Norman Hamilton
Saturday, 18th July 2020, 3:32 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th July 2020, 3:44 pm
(left to right) Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams, and Michelle O'Neill alongside other senior members of the party and other mourners at the funeral of the IRA man Bobby Storey. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
(left to right) Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams, and Michelle O'Neill alongside other senior members of the party and other mourners at the funeral of the IRA man Bobby Storey. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Given the events of the past few weeks, I suggest that any such meetings would be pointless for the foreseeable future.

When facts, truth and some of the Nolan principles of public life are so easily set aside in the interests of political expediency, there is no basis to hold a rational or thoughtful conversation.

Furthermore, it also seems clear that ethical poverty is now firmly embedded in the heart of the Stormont executive. This means that much less confidence can be placed on, or value given to any statements or announcements from the executive (in contrast to those of individual ministers or departments).

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Rev Dr Norman Hamilton is a former Presbyterian Moderator

A working principle has now been established that people can do what is right in their own eyes, irrespective of the impact on wider society.

Inevitably this places added and unnecessary burdens on the public services (especially the PSNI), and makes good corporate government much more difficult.

As a Christian minister, my key response is to offer the fervent prayer ‘Lord, have mercy’.

(Very Rev Dr) Norman Hamilton OBE, Ballymena

Presbyterian moderator Dr Norman Hamilton meets Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams at Sinn Feinn offices on the Falls Road in west Belfast in 2011. ©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

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