[Church of Ireland Press Office] The new 13-member Legislation & Politics Committee (NI) commenced its work in January 2003. Its task is to monitor and assess Northern Ireland legislative and political matters as they affect the people of Northern Ireland and their sense of a just, fair and inclusive community. Also to propose and pursue imaginative ways forward as our community struggles to emerge from our troubled heritage of division and violent conflict. It will also examine the possible impact of existing and proposed legislation on the Church, and will seek to be pro-active where and when appropriate.
The immediate task before the Committee is to respond to the Northern Ireland political situation following the suspension of the Stormont Assembly and Executive. In this regard, we are actively pursuing dialogue through meetings with the Northern Ireland political parties - Ulster Unionist, SDLP, Sinn Fein, Democratic Unionist, Alliance, Women's Coalition, Progressive Unionist, UKUP, etc: also with the Northern Ireland Office and the Government of the Republic of Ireland.
We are in discussion with certain statutory and other bodies - the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Parades Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission, the Commission on Decommissioning, the Community Relations Council, and the Loyalist Commission.
We are fully committed to making a positive contribution to finding a way forward for the establishment of inclusive democratic and accountable government in Northern Ireland and to promoting peace and harmony between all sections of our community. From our understanding of Jesus' proclamation of the reign of God, we seek a fair, just, inclusive and peaceful society for everyone.
Canon Walter Lewis, the Chairman of the Committee, comments, "Within our Committee there is a wide range of opinion on legislation and politics. We each speak the truth to one another. And we speak the truth plainly to all whom we meet. We expect no less from them. Truth is the sure foundation of a way forward in Northern Ireland. Our legislative and political institutions must be built on transparency and truth. We seek to serve God, and his coming Kingdom of truth, justice, goodness and peace."