Statement on Northern Ireland, December 2, 1999
Reverend Clifton Kirkpatrick
Presbyterian Church USA
Bernard Cardinal Law
Archbishop of Boston
Chairman, International Policy Committee
U.S. Catholic Conference
December 2, 1999
Political leaders in Northern Ireland, who have shown determination and courage in enabling the momentous developments of the week of November 30, deserve the support of all people of good will as they seek to carry out their popular mandate by implementing last year's Good Friday Agreement.
We join religious leaders in Northern Ireland who have welcomed the renewed commitments of the political leaders to implement all aspects of the Good Friday agreement in full. We note, particularly, the Church and Government Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland welcoming "the progress made in the Review of the Good Friday Agreement and the opportunity which now exists to move forward together." We also concur with Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, who cites recent efforts to overcome a prolonged impasse as "offering genuine hope for the new beginning for Northern Ireland called for by the Agreement and strongly endorsed by the people of both parts of this island."
Despite the delay in carrying out its terms, the Good Friday Agreement remains the best hope in a generation of resolving thirty years of conflict and of building a more just and peaceful society in Northern Ireland. This week's establishment of the political institutions provided for in the Agreement marks a most welcome and essential step toward a brighter future for Northern Ireland.
As religious leaders who have worked closely with our Presbyterian and Catholic counterparts in Northern Ireland in search of peace and reconciliation, we are well aware that much remains to be done. We urge Northern Ireland's political leaders, as well as those in the Republic of Ireland and in Britain, to confirm the critical decisions that have now been made by continuing to fulfill all of their remaining responsibilities under the Agreement. We pledge them our support as they take the essential next steps toward a new set of relationships for which so many have yearned, worked, prayed and even given their lives.