Northern Ireland bishops appeal for calm as violence escalates

Apr 9, 2021 by

By Rebecca Paveley, Church Times:

RIOTING in Northern Ireland continued over the Easter weekend and into this week, despite appeals for calm, among them a joint appeal by the Archbishop of Armagh and three other Anglican diocesan bishops in the province, who warned young people not to get involved in actions that they would “regret for the rest of their lives”…

…In a joint statement issued on Easter Monday after a weekend of unrest, the four bishops (including Down & Dromore, Derry & Raphoe, and Connor) called for an immediate halt to the violence, and urged those on the streets — some of whom, police have said, are as young as 12 — to realise that their actions could have lifelong consequences.

Loyalist anger over post-Brexit trading arrangements, and the decision not to prosecute people who attended the large-scale funeral of the republican Bobby Storey, during lockdown last year, has spilled over into violence and rioting on the streets.

The bishops’ said: “The violence which has been happening in parts of Northern Ireland over the past week is wrong and should stop immediately.

“People may feel aggrieved at things which have happened in the political sphere recently, but that is where any grievances should be addressed — in the political arena — and any response to these grievances should remain constitutional and legal.

“It is never acceptable for anyone to attack police officers with petrol bombs, stones and fireworks, and to risk causing them serious injury or worse.

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