Northern Ireland

Harold Good urges DUP and Sinn Féin to restore Assembly

Parliament Buildings at Stormont
Image caption With no ministers in place, civil servants have been making the decisions on running public services

The former president of the Methodist Church has urged the DUP and Sinn Féin leaders to restore the Assembly.

Rev Harold Good has written an open letter to Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill on Eamonn Mallie's blog.

Following the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bomb, he asked them to "come together and do whatever it will take to restore OUR Assembly".

There has been no executive in Northern Ireland since January 2017 when the DUP and Sinn Féin split in a bitter row.

Mr Good was one of two independent witnesses who oversaw the decommissioning of IRA arms in 2005, a vital part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Referring to the victims of the Omagh bomb, he said: "Surely we owe it to these yet quietly grieving people of incredible courage - and to those for whom they grieve - to come together and do whatever it will take to restore our Assembly and our confidence in normal effective governance.

"The horror of all horrors would be to contemplate the alternative, which some would suggest, would be another event of catastrophic proportions to bring us to our political senses. God forbid!

"Sadly, most of us who presently are not directly affected are learning to live with political inactivity, not realising the very serious short and long-term consequences for all of us in the absence of a locally elected legislature."

Image caption The Rev Harold Good was one of two independent witnesses who oversaw the decommissioning of IRA arms in 2005

He added: "So I plead with you once more, listen not to predictable and tired old voices like mine, but to those from Omagh and to so many others from across our community who, out of their unspeakable suffering, have shown us in their own incontrovertible way how to face the challenges of the present and the future with dispassionate courage.

"I will continue to watch this space with ongoing and deep concern, yet refusing to give up on my hopes of what you and all of our political leaders can yet deliver.

"I trust you have the will to undertake the necessary courageous journey as have the people of Omagh to whom I have already referred, along with so many others who share both my frustration as well as my great expectations."

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