Wednesday 16 October 2019

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin expresses concern over 'state of politics' in Northern Ireland

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sarah Mac Donald

The leader of the Irish Church has expressed concern over the "current deadlock" and "state of politics" in Northern Ireland, warning that it is damaging the peace process.

On Tuesday evening, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin commented to the Irish Independent, "You can’t put the peace process in the freezer – it gets damaged; it is getting damaged every day."

He was speaking after he delivered the annual Trócaire Lecture on the theme ‘At the Service of Justice and Peace’ at St Patrick’s College Maynooth.

In his address, Dr Martin paid tribute to those who "rose above the prejudice of their own communities, who led people to the Northern Ireland peace process and who showed that peace was possible."

He commented afterwards, "Any programme of peace or mediation requires people to rise up above the prejudices of their own tribe or their own grouping and that was an important element in the Northern Ireland peace process."

"The current deadlock" he stressed "says something about the state of politics in Ireland" and he suggested something of the previous leadership which secured the peace deal was missing today.

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin also underlined that "the problems of Northern Ireland are the problems of the South" and are of concern to everyone on the island of Ireland.

He likened those who had forged the peace in the North to the founders of Europe and the European Union, who felt after the Second World War that they needed to "rise above the damage they had inherited and to move forward in a courageous way".

These "forerunner" changed public opinion, he said, and were "men and women of intuition and innovation, of courage and conviction who are prepared with determination to take a stand and to take a principled stand and to take an uncompromising stand".

Elsewhere in his address, Dr Martin called for "modern day Marshall Plan style programmes of investment in developing countries" and said migration had been a source of enrichment of culture and society for centuries.

"It is also about people who have nothing, who are exploited in the roots of their humanity. The way we treat migrants and especially refugees is a barometer of our humanity," he said. 

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