A priest who worked in inter-face communities in Belfast has said it is vital that Stormont is re-established to give people hope about their future.
Fr Gary Donegan CP, nationally renowned for his ongoing commitment to conflict resolution and peace building in the North of Ireland, said there is “frustration” among communities of different faith backgrounds about the current impasse in Stormont.
The devolved legislature in Belfast has not sat in almost 600 days, following political rows over identity issues such as the Irish Language Act. Last week it was announced that there will be a salary slash of almost £14,000 for Stormont politicians given their failure to properly carry out their legislative functions.
Speaking about the impasse, Fr Donegan said there is a “common cry” among people of different political backgrounds who are together calling for the Executive to be “up and running”, adding that those in the youth sector are finding a “unified voice” against the political deadlock.
Fr Donegan also warned that although it is important that devolution is restored in Stormont, there is a “naivety” among citizens that this will solve all of the social and economic problems in the country. “It’s a wee bit ‘Disneyland’ to kind of think that if the Executive was up and running again all our woes would be [solved],” he told The Irish Catholic.
He also said that politicians will not be committed to any kind of decision or development until “there is something definitive about Brexit and its implications on the country.
“Brexit is holding things back. They’re waiting to see when that settles. They’re throwing shapes and pandering to a bit of pressure here, there and everywhere. Nothing will be developed until something definitive comes around,” he said.