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Derry Mayor launches Civic Rememberence Day

4 November, 2004

Derry Mayor Gearoid O hEara, announcing details of Derry's first ever act of inclusive civic remembrance in the city today, has asked that people make a judgement on the initiative based on its contents, not its author.

Mayor O hEara said:

"On the night I was elected Mayor I announced my intention to attempt to deal in a new and imaginative way with the potentially contentious issue of remembrance."

"In attempting to do this I have been in contact with hundreds of individuals and dozens of organisations in the city and beyond as to how we might go about achieving this objective. I have been heartened by the response of these people and am confident that this Council can lead the way in creating an act of civic remembrance that will create the space for people to remember all those "Who have died as a result of war and conflict in and from the city and district."

"I appreciate and fully understand that remembrance is a very personal and voluntary act and I am not seeking to take anyone to a place they are not yet comfortable going to. Remembrance is too personal and too sensitive an issue to become a political football. It cannot be forced and should never be faked.

"As Mayor I am also conscious of the many victims of conflict and war, and their loved ones left behind, who are either overlooked by the existing exclusive acts of remembrance or who are uncomfortable with aspects of them. I would also like to state that this event is not intended to replace any of the existing commemorations that take place in the district and which mean so much to those who organise and attend them.

"Yet as Mayor I have a responsibility to all the people of the city and district and it is as Mayor, the civic representative of the people of this C ity and district, that I am initiating A Day of Reflection.

"A Day of Reflection is a civic remembrance act that is dedicated to the memory of every man, women and child who has died in and from the city and district as a result of war or conflict. It will consist of the erection of a plaque that will incorporate a civic logo and the following dedication:

"In memory of all those who have lost their lives as a result of war and conflict from and in the city and district.

"There will be no speeches or statements, no opinions offered on the nature of the wars and conflicts in which people fell and no judgements made on the circumstances of their death. Each was someone's loved one, and each had a connection with this city and district. For us, that will be enough." ENDS

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