WASHINGTON (March 14, 1997) — The support of the United States government and individual citizens for the peace process in Northern Ireland continues to be as important as ever, and "Americans must not tire of supporting" those who work for a just and lasting peace, according the U.S. Catholic Bishops' advisor on international affairs.
Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, who chairs the USCC's Committee on International Policy, today issued the annual message for the Feast of St. Patrick. He said the annual celebration of the patron saint of Ireland is a good time to "support and encourage a just peace and reconciliation for which so many in Northern Ireland yearn, work, and pray."
Negotiations on the future of Northern Ireland, involving representatives of nine political parties, have recently recessed to begin preparations for the British general election schedule for early May. Sinn Fein, the legal political wing associated with the outlawed Irish Republican Army, has been excluded from the talks as long as the IRA refuses to reinstate a cease fire. Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell chairs the talks.
The statement urges all parties to renounce violence and refuse to be tempted by temporary set backs. Archbishop McCarrick notes that "peace requires continued work ... to overcome discrimination and to ensure that the law and public authorities respect the rights and dignity of all people."