In a statement on the Haass talks, the Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh, said he remains hopeful for future rapprochement in 2014.
In his statement the Archbishop says:
“Although deeply disappointed, as so many must be, that full agreement between the five political parties of Northern Ireland on the Haass proposals has not been reached at this juncture, we still hope for future rapprochement. We are truly grateful to the huge efforts put in by Dr Richard Haass, Professor Meghan O’Sullivan and their team. We continue to pray that their careful groundwork will indeed come to valuable fruition in the future.
“One of the most powerful biblical concepts that we can reflect on today is the word ‘forbearance.’ It is not the same as patience, although it is clearly associated with it. Forbearance essentially means not demanding everything we believe we could legitimately or even reasonably demand of another person; it is a ‘holding back” of ourselves in a spirit of generosity. It describes God’s dealings with humankind and it is what God therefore demands of us in our dealings with one another. A spirit of forbearance within us all is assuredly a prerequisite to a good and wholesome future in 2014 for Northern Ireland.
“Dr Haass used an interesting phrase some days ago when he said that the time had come ‘to fish or cut bait.’ The origins of this phrase in the nineteenth century suggested a third option – ‘to fish, cut bait, or leave the boat.’ Further time cutting bait may be necessary for our political leaders but none must metaphorically leave the boat.
“And so may God bless us all in this coming year. The people of Northern Ireland deserve a renewed and strenuous collaborative effort for an authentic peace from all those involved in its political processes.”