Leaders of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Ireland, Roman Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, and Irish Council of Churches met the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins on Monday at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin.
In a statement issued by the Church Leaders following the meeting, they said: "We were delighted to accept the President's invitation and very much welcomed the opportunity to spend time with him in what has been a focussed, but relaxed and informal conversation across a wide range of issues. The context for today's meeting was our shared commitment to reconciliation and peacebuilding on the island of Ireland. While recognising the obvious challenges, we acknowledged that the important and vital work of peace is still an unfinished work, but one we are all committed to actively pursuing for the common good of all the people of Ireland.
"We were also keen to discuss together the difficult economic situation and its impact across the island. At the same time we spoke of its wider international implications, especially for the Global South when coupled with the devastating effects of climate change and famine, including in the Horn of Africa, which is particularly close to the President's heart.
"At the start of this Advent Season, when as disciples of Jesus Christ we look forward to celebrating the arrival of the Prince of Peace, it was positive and worthwhile to meet with the President and his wife Sabina today."
Attending the meeting were Rt Rev Andrew Forster, President of the Irish Council of Churches, Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Most Rev John McDowell, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, Most Rev Eamon Martin Roman, Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, and Rev David Nixon, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland. Also in attendance were the Co-Secretaries of the Church Leaders' Group (Ireland) Rev Trevor Gribben, Clerk of the General Assembly and General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Rev Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist in Ireland.
The Church Leaders Group (Ireland) comprises the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Primates of all Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland and the President of the Irish Council of Churches.
All of these represent all-Ireland denominations with churches across the whole of the island of Ireland.
The Group came into existence in the late 1960s when the Church Leaders recognised the value in working together in light of the urgency of political developments of the time.
Since then, those holding these offices have met frequently, united in their identity as disciples of Jesus and their shared commitment to work together for the common good.