The Rt Rev Alan Harper, Bishop of Connor and Archbishop-Elect of Armagh, and fellow Bishops have welcomed Sinn Fein’s decision to support policing in Northern Ireland.
The follows Sinn Fein’s Ard Fheis on January 28 when, after a seven-hour debate, delegates overwhelmingly reversed 100 years of opposition to police and court structures. On a card vote, more than 80 per cent who voted backed the party leadership's move.
In a statement issued on Wednesday January 31, the Bishops said: “Following a series of meetings with political parties in Northern Ireland, it is with anticipation of a renewed society that we welcome the vote by Sinn Fein members last Sunday to support policing in Northern Ireland.
“We recognise that deeds will speak louder than words in coming days as republicans seek to build on this commitment. We understand the very real sensitivities in various sectors of the community, but we also acknowledge that this is a historic moment warmly to be welcomed.
“We urge all parties in Northern Ireland to work towards the next challenges – democratic elections, the creation of an assembly and the acceptance of responsibilities in the offices of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.”
The statement was issued by Bishop Harper, the Rt Reverend Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, The Rt Reverend Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, The Rt Reverend Richard Henderson, Bishop of Tuam, The Rt Reverend Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher and the Rt Reverend Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore.