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‘Cool it’ in Brexit talks, says Dr Clarke

12 May 2017

Gregg Ryan reports from Limerick on the the Church of Ireland’s Synod

Peter Cheney/Church of Ireland

Message: the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson (left), and the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, at the General Synod press conference

Message: the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson (left), and the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, at the General Synod press conference

THE Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, expressed concern at the direction that talks were taking in regard to Brexit, when they held a press conference during the Synod.

“Cool the aggression,” was the message from the Primate, who warned that a war of words would cloud the important issues now at stake after the triggering of Article 50 by the British Prime Minister.

“That is what I would say to politicians wherever they may be, because this is going to be a very delicate matter. It is, one hopes, something that could be of value, but at the moment there is a degree of rhetorical hysteria, and it does need to be cooled down to a place where really we are talking about issues rather than about what they see as motivation.”

Dr Clarke said that if people talked more in the language of bereavement than in the language of divorce, more might be achieved.

Dr Jackson elucidated: “A departure is a bereavement as well as a triumph, and I think we need to be careful, in that people in Europe have a concern about the departure of somebody who has been a member, somebody who has been a really big player in this, and that is why I think there will always be headlines sought, and headlines grabbed, when you have, as it were, a national election in one country.”

A motion put forward by the Liturgical Advisory Committee, and proposed by the Revd Adrian Dorrian (Down & Dromore), proposed that leave be given for the introduction of a Bill to amend the Book of Common Prayer by making changes to the Litany in Contemporary Language, in the section “For the State”: and that the petition that begAN “Bless the European Union” be placed within red brackets. It was defeated.

Proposing this motion, Mr Dorrian said: “For good or for ill, by the time the General Synod gathers in 2019, Northern Ireland will no longer be a part of the European Union, based on the timetable that is intended to follow the triggering of Article 50.

“The political reality behind the inclusion of this petition in the Litany will have changed. Reading the petition, there is no reason that it could not be used in a country outside the EU, but its inclusion in the state-prayers section assumes membership of the EU as a default.”

Speaking to the motion, the Bishop of Cashel, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, said that he was troubled by the manner of the use of the brackets.

The Revd Ian Linton (Elphin & Ardagh) said that the motion was premature, in that there was no guarantee that Britain would leave the EU.

Voting took place by orders, and a two-thirds majority of the laity was not achieved. The motion fell.

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