I wish to pay tribute to Archbishop Eames who has announced his plans to retire. It must be immensely frustrating to be a clergyman in Northern Ireland where the only weapons one possesses are words to be used against the weapons of action used by politicians and the real weapons used by paramilitaries. Archbishop Eames wielded the weaponry of words very well.
He consistently preached the gospel of peace and practised ecumenism in that he consistently joined with other denominations in an attempt to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
He and others like him are to some extent the unsung heroes of the battle against the paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. It is a fitting time to pay tribute to the people from all denominations, from those involved in the early talks in the 1970s to those involved in last year’s surrender of arms by the IRA.
These people played a role behind the scenes without being aggressive or active in other ways in this particular crusade against the men of violence on both sides. It is appropriate for us to pay tribute not just to Archbishop Eames but also to Cardinal Cathal Daly and others on both sides for their contribution to peace in Northern Ireland.