The archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, commended Ireland’s president Michael Higgins and wife on their recent state visit to the United Kingdom.
“The enthusiasm and the goodwill which are so evident and gratifying,” he writes, “reflects the maturity, respect and mutual understanding which now characterise the relationship between our two islands.”
Higgins and his wife, Sabina, have been in Britain this week for what has been the first state visit to the UK by an Irish head of state.
The visit comes three years after Queen Elizabeth became the first British to visit the Republic of Ireland.
“The historic events taking place in London are also the result of a long process of respectful dialogue and patience,” the Irish prelate said, adding: “I hope they bear the fruits of greater respect on all sides. I hope these positive relations will continue to deepen and improve and serve to promote a fuller healthy normalisation of conditions here in Northern Ireland.”
“I rejoice wholeheartedly in the joy and happiness which the new situation has brought, especially to Irish people living in Britain. I am immensely grateful to all those who have worked strenuously and constantly and taken risks to bring about that change.”
Cardinal Brady said his main fear is that many will “conclude that the Irish peace process is now done and dusted”. He added that he hopes that the British and Irish governments “will remain focussed on the outstanding problems and continue to apply the same energy and determination to their resolution as heretofore.”
“I invite the faithful of our islands to join with me in prayer for the strengthening of the bonds of friendship between our peoples.”