The Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, and the Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, have warned the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit is creating real fear among communities across Ireland.
The prelates appealed to politicians charged with negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to ensure “interdependence, solidarity and peaceful diversity” survive Brexit, especially in Ireland.
Bishop McKeown and Archbishop Martin were co-signatories to a joint statement issued after the Winter 2018 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
They stated: “As the deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU approaches and public debate intensifies about uncertainty for the future, there is a risk of deepening political and societal polarisation.
“Political ambiguity is generating understandable fear among families and employers, particularly those most vulnerable to the negative consequences of a lack of agreement.
“This is not only significant for the civic and economic sectors, but also for faith communities across the island of Ireland.
“Our concern is with the durability of relationships, and trust, which have been built up over many years.
“We appeal to all those charged with the heavy responsibility of making political decisions in the service of the common good, to collectively work to maximise the possibility of certainty and agreement.”
The Bishops said the commitments of both the Dublin and London governments under the Good Friday Agreement remained of “paramount importance especially with regard to the potential impact of any decisions made on the rights of people on the island.”
“Irrespective of the future nature of trading blocs around the globe, the values of interdependence, solidarity and peaceful diversity will continue to be essential hallmarks of the relationships between the islands of Ireland and Britain, and the rest of the EU,” they said.