.- Speaking to the Religious Information Service of Italy, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin praised a new power-sharing agreement between leaders of the Catholic and Protestant parties of Northern Ireland as a new hope for all of Ireland.
The archbishop said the event, which brought members of the Nationalist Sinn Fein party and Unionist Ulsters together to talk, “is an epoch-making event and puts an end to years of violence, pain and misery for thousands of families.”
“It is the beginning of a new hope for all those who live here,” Martin said.
The Archbishop expressed his hope that the agreement will bring an end to years of partisan fighting between those who wish to see Northern Ireland united with the rest of the island and those who would like it to remain part of the United Kingdom. “Now the politicians of both sides can move from ideological positions to pragmatic position,” the archbishop said.
“They can work to prove we can live in peace,” he added, “work not only to build a fair, peaceful society but also to create all it takes to progress, such as roads, basic services, promoting an economy in which all citizens will have the same opportunities.”
These tasks, he added, “must be carried on by Dublin and London in cooperation with Belfast for the people of Northern Ireland.”
“The success of this new chapter depends on the involvement of all sides. The only possible future for Ireland is one which gives space to mutual understanding, between London and Dublin, between the North and the South, between Unionists and Nationalists, between Catholics and Protestants, between believers and non believers.”
“The building and reconciliation process will be a priority for the Church. What we have to do,” the Archbishop continued, “is bring to light the most creative things we have in our traditions and join efforts for an Ireland in which everyone will feel they belong.”