Presbyterians urge parties to act for ‘common good’ at talks

Rev Dr Norman Hamilton said this is a 'critically important week for Northern Ireland'
Rev Dr Norman Hamilton said this is a 'critically important week for Northern Ireland'

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland issued a plea yesterday for the Province’s political leaders to act in the “common good” when finalising a multi-party deal.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has issued a plea for the Province’s political leaders to act in the “common good” when finalising a multi-party deal.

For weeks, the leaders of the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and UUP have been engaged in discussions about how to resolve the impasse around the Stormont House Agreement.

Key issues include proposed changes to the welfare system – to which nationalists and republicans have been opposed – as well as the renewed focus on ongoing paramilitarism which has developed since the killing of ex-republican prisoner Kevin McGuigan.

Last week, senior figures said that a deal may be only days away.

Rev Dr Norman Hamilton, convenor of the Council for Church in Society, said in the statement: “This is a critically important week for Northern Ireland.

“As is the nature of any negotiation, those involved are unlikely to achieve everything that they set out to achieve, so as a church we would encourage all the participants to work resolutely to find an accommodation for the common good of all the people of Northern Ireland.

“As a church we also hope that both the British and Irish governments would play their part by positively contributing to an agreement that will both deal with the outstanding issues, and lay a foundation on which trust and confidence can be rebuilt.

“All those involved in the negotiations will be in our prayers and the prayers of many other people this week.”