Reconciliation is an imperative – Kearney
Sinn Féin MLA for South Antrim and Sinn Féin National Chairperson, Declan Kearney, has said that the time has passed when reconciliation within Irish society was optional.
Speaking at the “Healing, Honour and Hope: What next?” event in Duncairn Arts Centre as part of the Féile an Phobail programme Mr. Kearney said:
“Huge suffering has taken place in Ireland, north and south, and that has extended to Britain.
“The divisions in our society which exist are visceral. The pain from past actions carried by our generation is very real.
“Instead of a few trying to develop the political and civic critical mass to support reconciliation and healing, we should be collectively accelerating its development as a new phase of the peace process
“In my view reconciliation is not an option in our society; it is an imperative. It must not be built upon resentment and recrimination.
Addressing the issue of the legacy of conflict, Mr Kearney said:
“The causes of division must be discussed. The legacy of the past cannot be avoided if we are to move forward to a new phase of the peace process.
“We all need to be prepared to deal with these issues by coming together privately and publicly to engage meaningfully, and not to score points.
“The mechanisms agreed under the Stormont House Fresh Start Agreement are an essential vehicle for moving forward.
"It is unacceptable and wrong that the potential of this framework is being held back by the British Government’s veto on maximum information disclosure, and refusal to release the funds which would allow legacy investigations and inquests to proceed.
“For our part Sinn Féin has avoided taking a prescriptive approach to the definition of reconciliation. At this year’s Ard Fheis our policy document on reconciliation and healing ‘Towards an Agreed and Reconciled Future’ was adopted.
“Our public, private, political and policy contributions have sought to encourage and support an inclusive public discourse.
“We are absolutely committed to ensuring a process of reconciliation and healing is established.
“It is time for all political and governmental leaderships to step up to the mark. That should include active and unambiguous commitment from the leaderships of political unionism.”