Prayers for politicians coping with Brexit are included in the joint New Year’s Message from the leaders of Ireland’s four main Christian denominations.
The church leaders say: “Last year we remembered together the events
of 1916, events that shaped relationships and the future of these
islands. A century on, new events of a different kind have the potential
to alter political and economic relationships here, as the UK prepares
to leave the European Union. It is our united prayer that our political
leaders in Belfast, Dublin and London will have wisdom, grace and
patience during this process that will have implications for the whole
The message came from Roman Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin of
Armagh, Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke of Armagh; Rev Bill
Mullally, president of the Methodist Church in Ireland; Rev Frank
Sellar, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; and Church of
Ireland Bishop John McDowell of Clogher, who is also President of the
Irish Council of Churches.
Immediately after the UK vote to leave the European Union, the value
of sterling plummeted, hitting Irish exporters hard, but since then
currency prices have stabilised.
Nevertheless, Brexit poses major
long-term challenges in the Republic of Ireland’s relationship with its
closest neighbour, including the question of what will happen the
relatively free movement that we currently enjoy between the Republic
and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. While the
majority of Northern Irish people didn’t vote in favour of Brexit, they
will have to cope with the consequences.
The church leaders also prayed for those who continue to suffer as a
result of conflict in the world, which they described as “an uncertain
They said: “As we enter this New Year we are mindful of people
who continue to suffer … especially in the Middle East, and the
humanitarian crisis that continues to unfold in Syria … As we begin our
journey through this coming year, we are reminded of the Greatest
Commandment that our Lord Jesus Christ gave us: ‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and
with all your strength … [and] Love your neighbour as yourself’”.