The people of Northern Ireland will succeed in their quest for a lasting peace, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.
Dr George Carey told a service at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast that even though there were political uncertainties in Northern Ireland at present, he believed the province would overcome them.
He told the congregation: "I sense in this city, and in the province as a whole, a renewed sense of hope and expectation about the future.
"There have been times in the past 30 years when it seemed as though darkness had fallen and no-one was sure whether daylight would return.
"Now, there is no doubt about the daylight, even if at the moment, it has clouded over.
"I am quite sure that the perseverance and courage of all involved will see you through to a long-lasting peace and justice for all."
Dr Carey expressed sympathy to workers in the threatened Belfast shipyard, Harland and Wolff who, he said, were worrying about their future.
"Its closure would, I know, be a serious blow to this city, and I hope that all those who have power and influence will use it on behalf of all the people who will be affected.
"The ship-building industry has a long and distinguished past here, of which you can be justly proud.
"I hope it has an equally distinguished future."
The Church of England Primate is rounding off a three day St Patrick's weekend visit to Northern Ireland.
He paid tribute to those who had suffered during the troubles who, he claimed, had been placed under "a severe test" of faith.
"But the confidence in God's good purposes which have been shown by so many Christians on all sides of the political divide, not least in the Church of Ireland, have helped to bring us all to new hope and the promise of a new life," he said.
Dr Carey also met pupils from Knockbreda Primary School in Belfast, who wrote to him last September asking him to nominate significant events of the 20th century.
He chose the discovery of the polio vaccine by Dr Jonas Salk.Reuse content