Church leaders say Brexit talks must not threaten peace

Archbishop Eamon Martin (Zenit/Armagh Archdiocese)

Ireland’s religious leaders are calling on Brexit negotiators to not threaten the peace brought by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Source: Crux.

The pact brought an end to “The Troubles” which had left more than 3,500 people dead and nearly 50,000 people injured since the late 1960’s.

The agreement had been undergirded by the fact both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom were members of the European Union, making it easier to remove all border restrictions between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU has caused uncertainty about the free flow of goods across the Irish border.

Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, Northern Ireland has seen a rise in sectarian tensions between the Protestant majority – most of whom are Unionists wanting to remain in the UK – and Catholic minority – most of whom are Nationalists wanting a united Ireland.

The UK and EU are in negotiations for a final agreement on their relationship after the current transitional phase that is due to end at the end of the year.

In a joint statement released yesterday, leaders of Ireland’s main Christian churches said it is important to gain the “clarity and security” a UK-EU agreement will provide.

“As church Leaders on the island of Ireland, we have welcomed the important commitment of both parties in the negotiations to the protection of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in all its parts. It is our hope that the agreement might serve as a source of inspiration and a foundation to build upon as we continue to work through the Brexit process,” it continued.

The statement was signed by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, along with leaders of the Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches and the head of the Irish Council of Churches.


Irish Church leaders say Brexit talks can’t threaten Good Friday Agreement (By Charles Collins, Crux

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