Daly asks English to forgive Irish

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The Independent Online
Ireland's Catholic leader, Cardinal Cahal Daly, delivered an historic sermon at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday, calling on the English to forgive "the wrongs and hurts inflicted by Irish people".

Dr Daly, the first Irish Catholic bishop to preach at Canterbury since the Reformation, called for reciprocal healing and forgiveness between Christians on all sides of the conflict.

Preaching on the theme Living with Peace, Dr Daly said: "I wish to ask forgiveness from the people of this land for the wrongs and hurts inflicted by Irish people upon the people of this country on many occasions during that shared history, and particularly in the past 25 years."

He said only those who had endured the "long dark years of violence" could appreciate the "blessings of peace".

But Dr Dalywarned that the slide back to conflict remained a "stark possibility".

He compared John Major to a modern-day Gladstone but called on politicians in Westminster to work together for the consolidation of peace.

He praised terrorist prisoners for the "crucial role" they had played in the ceasefire and said they continued to play an important role in the peace process.

Dr Daly said he hoped thatboth the Irish and British governments would agree to the transfer of Irish paramilitaries in British jails to prisons near their homes.

His Protestant opposite number, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Robin Eames, also gave a sermon.