Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Moderator on Givan Resignation
Although it was not covered on the front page of a single national newspaper, the Northern Ireland government collapsed when First Minister Paul Givan (DUP) resigned on Thursday, 3 February. His resignation was due to the lack of progress in removing the Northern Ireland Protocol that is a by-product of Brexit.
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, The Rt Revd David Bruce was the first church leader to comment on the impact of Givan’s decision.
Dr Bruce said, “At our event to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in September last year, I said the power-sharing arrangements which exist in Northern Ireland, ‘while not by any means perfect, are precious.’
“We therefore regret that it was felt necessary for the First Minister to resign. We have long supported the existence of devolved government, and lament the position that has been arrived at today. While the deputy First Minister will now no longer hold office, we note that other ministers will stay in place at this time, and therefore some important aspects of the work of their departments can continue. That being said, there is no doubt that it will be the most vulnerable in our society who potentially will suffer most during this next period of uncertainty and lack of clear decision-making,” Dr Bruce said.
“There is clearly in certain quarters a growing frustration around the significant delays in resolving the issues caused by implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. For the sake of everyone in Northern Ireland, the UK Government and the European Union urgently need to bring their negotiations to an acceptable conclusion. Likewise, there will be significant frustration about today’s actions and the threat to the devolved institutions which they present. Our political parties need to proactively work together to find a way forward. In both of these areas, a great deal can be achieved when we seek honourable accommodations focused on the common good.
Dr Bruce concluded, “As we commit to continue to pray for all of our elected leaders, we urge all people of faith to join with us – upholding those in leadership at this time of uncertainty.”