CSR on The Proposal to Empower Secretary of State for N.I

The Council on Social Responsibility of the Methodist Church in Ireland is gravely concerned at the proposal to empower the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to give directions to the Department of Heath on abortion services, usurping the role of the Northern Ireland Executive.   

At the time we lamented the extent to which abortion legislation for Northern Ireland was liberalised at Westminster.  It was done while the Executive here was not functioning.  It is functioning now, albeit with various difficulties and we counsel against the Secretary of State acting in any way that undermines the role of the Executive.  

This is about more than the difficult matter of abortion, about which there are differing and sincerely held opinions.  This is about the purpose, value and integrity of devolution.  We hope that the Secretary of State will tread wisely and cautiously and enable the Assembly and the Executive to fulfil the roles entrusted to them by the people of Northern Ireland.   

Rev Dr David Clements    

ENDS 19.03.21