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Presbyterian Church in Ireland urges House of Lords to prioritise reconciliation in Troubles debate

by Sophie Drew

As the Northern Ireland Bill returns to the House of Lords on Wednesday, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) has urged the government to put reconciliation at the centre of the debate. 

The bill is titled the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation), but despite the title, the PCI is concerned that reconciliation is truly at the forefront of discussions.  

Speaking ahead of the debate, Rev Trevor Gribben, Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and PCI's General Secretary said: "Members of the Upper House will note that while the word 'reconciliation' is included in the title of the Bill, there is no definition within it. 

"Without a definition, or even principles on which reconciliation can be founded, how can this legislation be an agent for change, building on the patient and tireless work towards reconciliation between and within communities across these islands that is being done by so many different organisations? 

"It requires more than words on a page.

"There is little incentive for perpetrators of violence to engage with the process of 'information recovery', removing from those who have lost loved ones the hope of justice, should they wish to seek it.

"This is the very opposite of the gospel which unites hope and justice in the person of Jesus Christ,"

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