“We are conscious too that Churches are only a small part of the wider civic leadership in our society, and that all civic leaders have a responsibility to support our elected representatives as they seek to negotiate difficult compromises and find new accommodations for the common good,” they wrote.
“At the same time, we have a responsibility to hold them to account, and the persistent levels of socio-economic inequality in the areas worst impacted by violence, over two decades after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, demand more sustained attention and meaningful intervention by political leaders.”
Various political leaders in Northern Ireland have condemned the current violence but have disagreed about its causes and solutions.
The Northern Ireland Protocol, which came into force in January, requires certain goods such as meat and eggs coming from Britain to be inspected at Northern Irish ports, the implementation of which has caused some disruption to food supplies. Unionist groups in Northern Ireland oppose the inspections because they do not want Northern Ireland to be treated differently than the rest of the UK.
The UK is now negotiating with the EU over the dispute.
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The faith leaders encouraged Northern Ireland’s leaders, as well as those of the UK government, to present a unified front, especially in negotiations with the European Union.
“As Christian Church leaders from across the island of Ireland, we appeal to our political leaders to come together in a unified response to the heartbreaking scenes witnessed on our streets last week and renew their commitment to peace, reconciliation and the protection of the most vulnerable,” they wrote.
They also urged support for the police in the face of the violence directed against them.