Sinn Féin submission to the Forum on Victims of the conflict
You would need a heart of stone to be unmoved when confronted by the reality of the pain endured by those who have suffered in the last 25 years of conflict. No words can ease the pain suffered by families bereaved, injured or traumatised in this phase of the conflict. Sinn Féin hopes that its expression of regret for the hurt that republicans have caused is accepted in the sincere spirit in which it is offered.
The suffering of everyone who has been hurt in this conflict is to be truly acknowledged by all the parties involved. Parity of esteem must extend to all the victims and their communities. To say that there have been victims on all sides is not some trite piece of propaganda but a recognition of reality. Republicans recognise that there have been victims on all sides - victims of British forces as well as British soldiers and RUC members, nationalists as well as unionists.
Sinn Féin has not shirked its responsibility in is area. Groups diametrically opposed to republican views, aims and aspirations have asked to meet Sinn Féin and we have willingly met with them. We have met with people who have suffered and we shall continue to meet with them and do all in our power to ease their pain. The suffering of the past, however, should not be used by the cynical as a barrier to dialogue, rather it should be a spur from which to build a permanent and lasting peace.
The trauma endured by people on is island is a testament to the failure of successive British governments to allow a just solution which would deliver us from cycles of injustice, resistance and repression.
Remorse and repentance, though, only seems to be sought for the acts of violence committed by those opposed to the state. But there have been other victims. As well as victims of state forces, there have been victims of discrimination, repression and injustice, designed, enlicly acknowledged the hurt which republicans have inflicted on others. I do so again today. For a healing process to work, everyone must do this. Republicans, unionists and loyalists and especially the British government."
For the families of those whose loved ones are missing, presumed dead, Sinn Féin repeats its appeal to anyone who can help to ease their pain by providing information on their whereabouts. Their heartache and uncertainty can only be imagined by many of us here - their plight should be resolved without delay.
Republicans want no more suffering, no more victims. That is why we are irrevocably committed to the success of the peace process and why this historic opportunity to end the suffering should not be squandered.
We all deserve a better life than any of us have yet known.