Following representation on behalf of those who face a negative impact by the proposed welfare reforms, the Church leaders were pleased that the Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA invited them to meet him to discuss the topic. This meeting took place on Monday, 20th October, at Stormont.
This meeting constitutes a further aspect of the ongoing dialogue on welfare reform and social justice between the Church leaders and senior politicians, including Secretaries of State Owen Patterson and Theresa Villiers, Welfare Advisor Lord David Freud and former Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland.
The meeting was constructive and involved a full exchange of views, where both sides of the welfare reform argument were put to the Minister. The Church leaders asked the Minister that the details of Welfare Reform be brought into the public domain in order that the fears of those affected will be allayed.
Minister Storey agreed to this request and invited the Church Leaders to return for a further meeting.
Church leaders who attended the meeting were Mr. Mervyn McCullagh, Executive Officer, Irish Council of Churches (Representing, Rev. Dr. Donald Watts, President of the Irish Council of Churches), Rev. Eamon Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev. Peter Murray, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland and Ven. George Davison, Archdeacon of Belfast (Representing the Most Rev. Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh.