Bishop's challenge to the government: Don't drag your heels on Shared Future (Down & Dromore)
Added on 28/06/2011
During his Presidential Address at this year's Diocesan Synod in the Seagoe Parish Centre on 28th June 2011, The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, will call on the government to stop dragging its heels and advance the Shared Future agenda as a matter of priority.
“There is a real and absolute priority in moving forward the Shared Future agenda,” he will say. “OFMDFM asked everyone to respond to their document Cohesion, Sharing and Integration, and the Church of Ireland did - in a robust and critical way. Eight months later, I still cannot find even the contents of the responses on the OFMDFM website, let alone any analysis of them, or any sense of direction for the future. The government is dragging its heels at a time when we desperately need to build a different kind of community, especially in interface areas.”
Bishop Miller will also challenge the power of the paramilitaries which, “seeks to control communities through fear and intimidation.”
“These same paramilitaries claim to have disarmed, but still seek to control people, not least in their own communities, by fear,” he will say. “It was quite shocking to hear so often last week that people were afraid to say what was really happening. It is also deeply disturbing to see young people often in their mid-teens being drawn into the adrenalin rush of violence and cynically used by older men; and we ought all to say how much we abhor and reject the creation of new paramilitary murals in East Belfast, contributing to an environment of hatred rather than healing. There is, in my view, an unheard voice in East Belfast, which wants to say to the paramilitaries, ‘Get off our backs!’”
The Bishop will conclude by thanking his own clergy for their engagement with the situation and say, “The Church of Ireland is committed to inner city areas, and will continue to develop its ministry in the heart of East Belfast.”
Please click here for the full text of Bishop Harold's presidential address.
For further information, please contact
Down & Dromore Diocesan Communications Officer
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Tel: (028) 9032 2268
Fax:(028) 9023 1902
Mob: 07595 231958