Faith communities are real radical voices – Lord Mayor

Politicians should learn from the churches and other faith communities in tackling inequality and building peace the Lord Mayor of Belfast has said.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said the “most radical places I visit in the city of Belfast aren’t the offices of political parties but the places where faith groups gather”.

He said “those of us in political parties think because we’re at the coal face, that we’re building society and building community. Everywhere I go, it is the faith communities that are there fighting for those at the bottom of the ladder. Politicians need to learn from this”.

“As I traverse the city of Belfast, I am heartened by the actions of faith leaders who follow the advice of St Francis of Assisi, who said ‘preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words’” the Lord Mayor said.

Cllr Ó Muilleoir said “it’s my view that we must rise to the challenges of expanding the common ground of our city by emphasising the many things which unite us rather than the few things that divide us. In that work we have much to learn from the faith leaders I have met during my term in office”.

He said that while he had not read the call by Archbishop Eamon Martin for religious leaders to agree covenants of friendship, he felt it was an “excellent initative”.

“We need to get the faith communities more involved in building peace. We need to say to them: ‘if you are about peace, we need you on board’,” Cllr Ó Muilleoir told The Irish Catholic.