Moderator writes to Hargey & Humphreys

2.9.2022 | General Assembly, Moderator, Church in Society, Public Affairs

Presbyterian Moderator, Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, has written to Deirdre Hargey MLA, Minister for Communities in Northern Ireland and Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Social Protections and Minister for Rural and Community Development in the Republic of Ireland, regarding widespread concerns around the cost of living crisis.

In his letter, Dr Kirkpatrick drew the attention of both ministers to a resolution passed by the General Assembly in June, which urged both administrations ‘…to not only find ways to mitigate the immediate crisis, but also prioritise the development of anti-poverty strategies in each jurisdiction that begin to tackle the root causes of endemic poverty on the island.’

The Moderator also highlighted last week’s Church Leaders statement on the cost of living crisis and his predecessor’s comments in a statement in March on the situation. Dr Kirkpatrick wrote that ‘At that time, he [Dr Bruce] also echoed concerns that the faith, charity and third sector organisations should not be expected alone to alleviate the growing financial pressures experienced by many in society, and called on the political parties North and South to prioritise the development of an anti-poverty strategy within their respective jurisdictions.’

Dr Kirkpatrick also pointed out that Presbyterian congregations across Ireland, along with others, continued to find ways to respond to the pressures faced by families and individuals in their local communities. This includes supporting foodbanks, providing debt counselling services, and more recently, for example, school uniform projects ahead of the start of the new term.

In conclusion, the Moderator said that PCI representatives were willing to engage with both ministers and their officials ‘on any initiatives or policy development through which we might work together for the common good, and which might usefully contribute to the pursuit of a peaceful and just society.’

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