Restoring powersharing in the North would 'disarm' dissident republican threat, says church leader

A Methodist church leader who helped oversee the peace process in the North has said political powersharing should be restored to "disarm" the dissident republican threat.

The Rev Harold Good was an independent witness as the IRA destroyed its guns in 2005. It was a crucial milestone on a road which ended decades of conflict and enabled inclusive government at Stormont.

He said the community was "weary" of the consequences of the political uncertainty after devolved government collapsed early this year and appealed to politicians to listen to the frustrated and angry voices of a community pressing for politicians to return to power.

"Not only in the interests of economic stability, or to 'disarm' the arguments or activities of those who as yet pose a threat to our fragile peace .... but because what we ask of you is morally as well as politically the right thing to do."

The Rev Good joined forces with Catholic priest Fr Alec Reid, a long-time confidant of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who arranged ground-breaking talks between Mr Adams and then SDLP leader John Hume, to witness paramilitary arms decommissioning.

Canadian General John de Chastelain led an international independent commission on decommissioning, which oversaw the destruction of weapons.

It was a pivotal moment in the peace process, coming after a 30-year conflict during which the IRA killed nearly 2,000 people, and was followed by Sinn Fein accepting policing, the rule of law and the restoration of devolution.

Since then, dissident renegades opposed to peace have targeted police, soldiers and prison officers.

The former Methodist president in Ireland added: "Within and between the churches of this land we are deeply conscious of the many ways in which we have failed to live up to what we have been called to preach.

"Slow learners though we may appear to have been, we are trying to catch up."

He joined a group of other civic figures appealing for progress in the talks between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionists because it would help those with health problems and other challenges receive support from a locally elected administration.

"The list goes on, with extremely vulnerable young people struggling with suicidal thoughts, as well as the death of a friend or sibling.

"It is on their behalf, not our own, that we plead for a return to a compassionate, stable and effective Assembly and Executive."

Related Articles

Man found with 'serious head injuries' in west Belfast

Barry McElduff questioned by police over Kingsmill video

Former Northern Secretary Peter Hain fears peace process 'unravelling'

Stormont powersharing talks "a work in progress": Gerry Adams

More in this Section

Man found dead in Cork City centre doorway

Gardaí renew appeal for information on 1977 disappearance of Mary Boyle

Men arrested in connection with Wexford gun seizure released without charge

Richard Satchwell explains comments made about missing wife

Today's Stories

Working poor rise despite economic recovery

Immigrant students more likely to be bullied

Brexit fallback deal on border is ‘legally firm’

Charlie Flanagan to discuss laundries report with Ombudsman


New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner