'Reconciliation and healing must be our future'- Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said that reconciliation, healing and forgiveness are needed to free society from the pain of the past.
Speaking at a Gasyard Féile event in Derry on a panel including PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton, he acknowledged the loss suffered by all sections of the community and stressed there can be no hierarchy of victimhood or humanity.
Declan Kearney said:
"I acknowledge without exception the loss and pain of all sides. I regret none of it can be undone. I am sorry for the pain experienced by the RUC family during the war; the suffering caused to the unionist section of our community, (the human tragedy of the Shankill Bomb, being one instance of that); and, equally for the pain of the families of IRA volunteers killed here in Derry and elsewhere during the war; as well as many nationalist civilians who were killed and injured.
“For many years I and the Sinn Féin leadership have called for an initiative of common acknowledgement by all sides for the pain caused, as a contribution to forgiveness and healing.
“In that spirit, I welcome George Hamilton’s remarks at the West Belfast Féile on the benefit of a collective acknowledgement of the pain caused by our past. This would indeed be a powerful expression of shared commitment that it should not happen again.
“Embracing that challenge will require courage, and opening our minds and hearts to the need for respect, generosity, forgiveness, and trust.
“The hurt of war still needs healed long after war’s end. Expressing remorse and regret for death and injury could help deepen mutual respect and move us all closer to a healing process. That should not be confused or devalued with seeking the repudiation of political allegiance.
"Painful and uncomfortable compromises will need to be considered. The mechanisms proposed by the Stormont House Agreement to deal with legacy issues are the compromise to deal with our past at this time. Each mechanism must be implemented. If supported by all sides its template provides a way forward. ENDS/CRÍOCH