The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin has expressed his relief that progress has been made during the talks at Stormont over the past week.
In his first Christmas Day Homily as the Archbishop of Armagh, the former administrator of the Derry Diocese said:
“This Christmas I am heartened by the news from Stormont that our politicians have made progress in removing some of the stumbling blocks obstructing the path to lasting peace.
“It is good to see ‘Heads of Agreement’ rather than ‘Headlines of Disagreement’ emerging from the talks.
“We know there is still much work to be done, but I thank all who have been working hard to achieve and underpin these new steps towards a better future for us all.”
He added: “It is important to hope and to believe that peace is possible. We all have a part to play in supporting and affirming peace. We must work to ensure that cynicism or negativity do not cause the strands of agreement to unravel. So tonight I thank God for the progress that our politicians have made and I pray that in the New Year they will continue to show courage, leadership and commitment.”