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C of I attacks integration scheme

25 November 2010

by Gregg Ryan Ireland Correspondent

THE Church of Ireland has issued a critical response to a document from the Northern Ireland Assembly about mapping the future of integration in the province. It claims that the part played by Churches has been largely ignored, and that the need for collab­oration is essential.

The standing committee of the C of I General Synod has described the document, Consultation on Cohesion, Sharing and Integration, as lacking ethics, ethos, or vision. “It does not represent an adequate attempt to build towards a recon­ciled and shared future for the people of Northern Ireland,” it states.

Although it is important to ac­know­ledge the many steps that have been taken across political and social arenas in Northern Ireland, it says, the “document appears to reflect party political mandates following existing divisions, and risks perpetuating the failings of the past at the expense of the future.

“There is a lack of timeframe for the implementation of some goals, and a lack of clarity as to what are goals and what are aspirations, with key areas such as housing and educa­tion insufficiently addressed.”

The standing committee also felt that the language used in relation to equality rights, tolerance, and prejudice was inconsistent, and the absence of the language of reconcili­ation was “deeply regrettable”. The submission noted that churches “will be vital in working towards a future that seeks the dignity and respect of every individual”.

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