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Statement by Archbishop Séan Brady, following a meeting with Ian Paisley and a delegation from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), (9 October 2006)

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Text: Archbishop Séan Brady... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Archbishop Séan Brady, then Archbishop of Armagh and Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, after a meeting between the Northern Ireland Catholic Council for Social Affairs (NICCOSA), and a delegation from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Ian Paisley, then leader of the DUP (9 October 2006)


"I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Dr Paisley and other members of the Democratic Unionist Party today as part of their ongoing engagement with Church and civic leaders. It was a very helpful and constructive meeting. We had the opportunity to exchange views on issues such as addressing poverty and social need, ensuring high standards and adequate funding for education, the right to faith based schools and how to provide greater support for the family based on marriage as the keystone of a secure society.

We also discussed the benefits that would derive to all parts of the community from a stable and devolved administration in Northern Ireland. This included the need to develop support for the administration of justice and of law and order in every section of the community as a fundamental principle of democracy.

Today’s meeting confirmed to me that all of us have a part to play in creating a more stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland. I firmly believe that such a future is within our grasp if each one of us can find the courage to take account of the needs of the other and not just those of our own community. I think that real peace will come only when we focus on the common good of all of our society and not just on sectional interest. Northern Ireland is fast becoming a more diverse and dynamic society. I hope and pray that coming months will also see it become a more democratically accountable and stable society. Perhaps then we will be able to unlock the great potential that undoubtedly exists within the people of Northern Ireland and set this place free to become one of the safest, most welcoming and most prosperous parts of the world.

I want to thank Dr Paisley and the DUP for making today’s meeting possible. I look forward to further meetings with him and his colleagues. It is in such dialogue and engagement that we can dispel fears, create understanding and build trust. A lot of progress has been made. Hopes are now rising for further progress. I pray that these hopes may not be dashed but realised abundantly."



The Catholic Church delegation at today's meeting was made up of representatives of NICCOSA (Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs), of which Archbishop Seán Brady is the Chair. The delegation included:

  • Archbishop Seán Brady (Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland)
  • Bishop Francis Lagan (Auxiliary Bishop of Derry)
  • Fr Timothy Bartlett (Secretary to the Northern Bishops)
  • Mrs Deirdre O’Rawe (Regional Director of ACCORD NI, the Catholic Marriage Advisory service)
  • Mr Martin O’Brien (Barrister)
  • Mrs Anne Gibson (Solicitor)


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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