THE forthcoming talks that will seek to break the political
impasse in Northern Ireland concerning contentious matters such as
the use of flags and emblems should inspire all those taking part
to be courageous, the Church of Ireland's Northern Ireland
Community Relations Working Group has said.
"It is our hope that the talks are entered into wholeheartedly.
. . The task of those involved in the talks is not an easy one, and
everyone in Northern Ireland needs to accept some responsibility
for creating an atmosphere where our elected representatives can
find it difficult to make courageous and tough decisions."
The Working Group acknowledged that the achievement of lasting
long-term decisions "in a divided society which still carries a
great deal of pain and darkness from the past is incredibly
In a statement on Tuesday, it said that deepening financial
pressures only added to the complexity. "There will be many areas
where it may seem safer to do nothing. However, principled
compromise and accommodation are not weaknesses. . . We encourage
all in- volved in the current talks to work beyond a state of
The Primate of All Ireland, Dr Richard Clarke, giving his
synodical address in Armagh, called for commitment. "We want the
talks to work," he said.
"People want to see hope; they want to believe that those who
lead our country are actually interested in holding out hope for
all the communities of Ireland."